Formula Student is an annual competition in which teams from universities around the world design and build their very own single-seater racing cars. The UK competition alone attracts nearly 150 teams each year from most of Europe and one of our former students, Dominykas Vaitkus, who is now studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds, is currently part of the Leeds Formula Race Team. He writes here about his passion for motor-racing and involvement with the team.
“I first heard about Formula Student a few years ago. As a life-long petrolhead, I immediately knew I would aim to be part of a Formula Student team as soon as I start university. At the beginning of this academic year I entered the Vehicle Dynamics sub-team of Leeds Formula Race Team, where I was responsible for designing and manufacturing of a new steering system for our 2019 Formula Student Team car F19. This was perhaps the toughest, but also the most rewarding challenge I ever faced, as it pushed me to first of all research, and then apply very high-level technical knowledge. Following this, I became heavily involved in the manufacturing of chassis, suspension and a few other subsystems of a car, often having to re-think design of some parts without compromising performance of a car, as problems that came up during car’s manufacturing phase made some initial design unfeasible.
“Designing and manufacturing a car is just a part of Formula Student competition. Another extremely important part is taking care of different reports, like design review or cost report. I was first involved in helping to complete these reports as a team member, but a couple of months ago I was honoured to being promoted to the position of Team Leader, which gave me additional organisational and team management responsibilities. I also led a team in the UK Formula Student competition in July, in which despite having a few problems with our car we still more than doubled our points score compared to last year. This competition was followed by our team taking part in Italian Formula Student contest. It the first time that a team from University of Leeds had taken part in any other than UK competition, so a very exciting event for us all. In this event we finished 24th place overall, 3rd amongst the British teams and scored over 264 points – the best result for our team in over a decade!
“The experience I have already gained by being involved in the Leeds team is simply invaluable. Apart from just being an interesting hobby (and often a good laugh) it has taught me how to apply engineering science in practice, exposed how manufacturing can limit available design options, how to organise teamwork and communicate within a team. We now know what to improve in our car and I can’t wait for new challenges designing next year’s car!”
Here at d’Overbroeck’s we love seeing students take their passions into future studies and careers and we’ll look forward to more updates from Dom in the months and years ahead.