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Queen’s team gearing up for Silverstone with race car they designed themselves

By Stewart Robson

A team of student engineers from Queen's University are gearing up to compete in their newly-designed race car at Silverstone next month after unveiling the machine at a ceremony yesterday.

The car, named QFR18 after the Queen's Formula Racing (QFR) team, can reach 80mph in three seconds and was crafted by 43 engineering students.

Many of them attended the ceremony yesterday as the public got to see the car for the first time.

It's been 18 years since the Russell Group university first took part in the Formula Student competition which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

QFR finished seventh in last year's competition and are set to face 100 universities from around the world from July 13-15.

The team believe they are in pole position with just under three weeks to go until race day.

Team leader Gavin White (23) hopes to run his own design business once leaving university.

"Every year we have to design a different car and this gives students the education," he said.

"The rules state that you have to have a new chassis but mainly every year you're just trying to make small changes.

"A big change is reducing your mass. This year we've reduced 5kg off the car so that's a 5% weight reduction on last year."

He added: "Each year you're just trying to make that small improvement."

Katie Lemon has just finished her first year at Queen's.

The 19-year-old, who was one of two girls in the team that attended yesterday, said her dream is to one day work for Land Rover.

"There's very few of us, but you're just accepted for what you can do and for your skills, rather than the fact that you're a girl," she said.

"I was involved in layering up the carbon fibre and looking at all the processes for that."

Rachel MacNeill wants to run her own automotive engineering business in the future but was able to put her planning skills to the test in this project.

"I was making the tabs to stick the panels on the car and had more of an operational role, like organising the team travel over, and the colour scheme as well," said the 20-year-old.

Mark Price, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Queen's, said the competition has many benefits.

"It's a very sophisticated machine for students to deal with," he said.

"Students will be refining things up until race day. The experience is valuable for them. They're going to be contributing to our local economy and helping companies here."

The QFR team have signed a three-year sponsorship deal with engineering recruitment agency Vickerstock. Company director Darren McVicker said teaming up with QFR was "a perfect fit".

"This is a wonderful example of some of the opportunities that are out there in engineering," he said.

"These guys made massive strides last year and they've fine-tuned it again so we're hoping they can compete as well as they possibly can."

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