At the launch of its 2016 Formula Student car team leader Chris Shawe highlighted the many successes the team has had since first entering the competition in 1999. It has been the top UK team five times, it has been at the forefront of chassis development, creating carbon monococques, aluminium monocoques and, for 2016, developing a folded-carbon monocoque chassis, which with other developments it hopes to come out top of the 630 teams that enter from around the world.“The entire team, all 160 members, has worked extremely hard and pushed the boundaries for 2016. Since we started to enter Formula Student Oxford Brookes has scored more points, entered more competitions, produced faster laps than any other UK formula Student team. For 2016 we want to take that further and win Formula Student outright and become world beaters. We can’t achieve this without the support of our partners,” says Chris Shawe.
Winning is obviously in the blood at Oxford Brookes, as when masters student Chris Warburton attended MACH he visited the WNT stand because the company he is employed by, Helix Autosport, is a customer. He entered WNT’s prize draw, and was one of the winners. Now the university is now benefitting from his good fortune to the tune of £1,000 worth of WNT tooling. That tooling has been put to good use machining parts for the OBR16 car. It is assisting in achieving one of the team’s goals for 2016, to reduce the mass of the car, which has a knock on effect of improving reliability as parts are under less strain and also delivering handling gain through corners.
Aluminium chassis components machined using WNT tooling
Chris Warburton adds: “The areas of focus for components that need to be manufactured to improve the development/optimisation are suspension components which have been redesigned to be stiffer and lighter, reducing both compliance and mass. Aerodynamic components to improve efficiency of the wings and the floor, without increasing the mass of the aerodynamic package by more than 5% and powertrain components where the focus is on mass reduction, while also concentrating on components that can also reduce inertia within the system and with the help of WNT Tooling we believe that this is more that obtainable.”
Since winning the tooling voucher at MACH, WNT (UK) has started to develop its partnership with Oxford Brookes University, where its cutting tools can help to produce parts that are lighter and stronger, for example suspension components, an area of the 2016 car that has seen major changes. Oxford Brookes Racing competes against some of the best funded universities in the world, with some benefitting from multi-million-pound budgets to develop their cars. At OBR the emphasis is less on financial power and more on engineering solutions, which may explain the success of its students as they leave university and embark on their careers.
Tony Pennington, managing director of WNT (UK), points out that the Oxford Brookes team is able to take advantage of its 50% standard educational discount. He adds: “We are available to offer technical support through our technical sales and applications engineering team.”