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Class of 2018: Pole Position for trio on track to success

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Published on 06 July 2018

Stephen McGuire, James Spiby and Ed Wilding with their Formula Student car
Stephen McGuire, James Spiby and Ed Wilding with their Formula Student car

Ed Wilding, James Spiby and Stephen McGuire graduated from the University of Sunderland on Friday, and they already have their careers off to a roaring start.

Ed studied a BEng in Automotive Engineering, James, a BEng in Mechanical Engineering, and Stephen, a BEng in Electronic and Electrical Engineering. All three spent their undergraduate years working with Formula Student (FS).

The University of Sunderland’s FS team, Sun Racing, which competes against 130 other international universities, design and manufacture their own single seat car at the University-run Industry Centre.

With a turnaround time from concept to having the car on track shorter in timescale than what is expected in Formula One, it is a challenge, but one that is seen as beneficial to Sunderland students who have degrees based in the automotive sector.

The team is set up to replicate the sort of structures seen in a real world automotive project. A Team Captain and Deputy is appointed to take on organisational and management responsibility for the FS squad.

Ed, 22, Deputy Captain with Sun Racing, said: “When I was looking at universities Sunderland had a FS team and I knew it would be something I wanted to be involved in.

“It has given me a chance to learn so much, everything from designing and creating industry standard drawings to managing teams and doing presentations in front of professionals  

“FS gives you the real world experience required in engineering, it also massively helps with jobs and my degree. It was also an excellent experience being able to attend Silverstone and race the car you have worked so hard on throughout the year.

Sun Racing has been my highlight of my time at the University. It was amazing to be able to drive the car I helped design. Also, the chassis which I designed over many hours is being manufactured and is now ready to race in the 2018 competition.

“My long term plans for the future are to have my own motorsport engineering company.”

James, also 22, is the current Captain of the FS Sun Racing team.

He added:“Formula Student has helped me to develop as an engineer and has played a large part in securing a job at Jaguar Land Rover.

“For any engineering student, FS is a must due to the extra skills and knowledge there is to be gained from the project. There is also the fun side of it; at the end of the day you are building and then racing a race car, at Silverstone, which for anyone interested in motorsports is immensely enjoyable.

I’ve secured a place on Jaguar Land Rovers graduate programme which I will be starting in September, so for the next two years at least I will be there. Providing all goes well I would like to continue working in the automotive industry.  I may be back in motorsport in the future but will wait to see what I’m enjoying and what doors open for me down the line.”

Stephen McGuire, 21, from Moorside in Sunderland, has been the electrical team lead on the Sun Racing Team.

Stephen said: “It’s been a brilliant few years at the University and I have already got a job as a controls engineer working at an automation plant in Washington.”

Roger O’Brien, Director of AMAP – Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice – at the University of Sunderland, said: “I’m delighted that having had James, Ed and Stephen as part of the Sun Racing team over these past few years they have grown both academically and in their general confidence, whilst honing their practical and design skills on this fantastic project.

“The results of which have seen them help to develop what is probably the best car we have produce to date as a team at Sunderland. I’m sure the experience and knowledge gained through the years in Formula Student will stand them in good stead for their future careers, and that the time spent on Formula Student has really helped consolidate their engineering studies.

“Well done to them all and all the rest of the team at Sun Racing, next stop is Silverstone to cap their degrees off in fine style so let’s hope we bring back a good result.”

Facts and Figures

• 130 student teams from over 30 countries have been chosen for Formula Student 2018.

• Formula Student Partners for 2018 include Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, ExxonMobil, Infiniti, Robert Bosch Ltd and GKN plc.

• Formula Student culminates in a competition to be held from the 11 - 15 July at Silverstone. 

• The first Formula Student, held at the MIRA proving ground in July 1998, featured just seven teams.

• Formula Student UK is part of a global series of similar events linked by organising body Formula SAE. 

• The cars can go from 0-60mph in less than three seconds.

• Formula Student usually forms part of the students’ engineering degree course and counts towards their final mark.

• For new teams who may not have the experience to produce a fully working race car, Class 2 encourages teams to submit their designs and any manufactured parts for judging.