Loanhead firm helps students get on track

The Edinburgh University�Formula Student team and their racing car at Silverstone
The Edinburgh University�Formula Student team and their racing car at Silverstone

A helping hand from Alex F Noble Nissan made a big difference to the Edinburgh University Formula Student team in their efforts to attend this year’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ UK Formula Student competition held at Silverstone recently.

The Midlothian-based car dealership provided the team with a Nissan NV400 Van and a twin-axle car transporter trailer for the week of the competition which is held annually at the famous Northamptonshire racing circuit.

The Formula Student competition is organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the institution which also accredits the students’ degree. It is aimed at university engineering students and challenges student-led teams to design, build, test and present a working racing car in competition with more than 130 teams from more than 30 countries. 

Fahad Iqbal, the team’s Aerodynamics Leader for the academic year 2015/15, takes up the story.

“Last year, our team entered the Class 2 Design Competition (without a car) and were ranked sixth out of 24 teams. Since then, we have worked relentlessly to build a working car in the academic year 2015/16 to attend as a Class 1 entrant team for the first time in this year’s competition. 

“We were on a very low budget to build our car for less than £3,000. This proved to be a big challenge as we were competing against teams with over 15 years’ experience and six-figure budgets. 

“We wanted to get our name out there and gain more recognition and support from our university and sponsors so I approached Colin Noble, a director of Alex F Noble & Son, as I had previously worked at the dealership on a workshop placement.

“Being a racing driver himself as well as a director of a major car dealership, Colin had great empathy both with our motivation to build a car and also with our desire to develop as mechanical engineers.

“Restricted by a low budget, we would have struggled to get to Silverstone without his company’s help and our team was honoured to arrive at the competition with our Nissan van and trailer carrying our race-car and tools. 

“Our car was designed and built to be tested to the limits for dynamic performance including: skid pan, acceleration, endurance, efficiency and sprint testing. Unfortunately we faced unforeseen electronic problems with damaged wiring during the final of six aspects of scrutineering and ran out of time to detect and diagnose the fault. Despite this, our team stuck together and was awarded the Team Spirit Award, and earned a reputation of good sportsmanship towards other teams. 

“With the support from Alex F Noble Nissan, our team has gained valuable recognition for our engineering project.”