Formula for success

Race car Emma in the workshop with team leader Alex Barry.
Race car Emma in the workshop with team leader Alex Barry.

A group of ECU motorsport students has constructed and will race their own formula car against the world’s best universities in the Formula Student Competition in England next month.

Brabham, who was honoured as an F1 great upon his death earlier this year, remains the only racer in history to win a world championship driving a car he built himself.

While ECU’s 80-horsepower vehicle won’t be packing quite as much punch as an F1 car, the 200kg racer, nicknamed Emma, has some cunning design smarts to ensure it’s a contender.

ECU motorsport co-ordinator John Hurney hoped the students’ complex construction process involving a specialised engine block, gearbox and gears would give them a solid shot at victory.

‘By designing the engine block and gearbox ourselves, we’ve been able to make the engine more compact as well as reduce the car’s overall weight,’ he said.

‘It has also allowed us to reverse the inlet and exhaust systems so that the exhaust pipes are now at the back of the car rather than between the motor and the driver’s area, which previously gave all kinds of access problems, along with potential to overheat various components.’

To add to the excitement, the ECU team will be racing at Silverstone Circuit ” home of the British Grand Prix.

An 18-strong student group and two ECU staff members will travel to England for the July 10 to 13 showdown.