My experience with Formula Student
Simon Harvey is undertaking a doctorate in advanced engine technology in association with Ricardo at University of Brighton after qualifying with a Mechanical Engineering MEng. For Simon, being involved in Formula Student was one of the highlights of his MEng. We asked him about the experience.
What made you choose University of Brighton and your course?
I was going through clearing and had several foundation year offers. I chose Brighton as it had one of the longest running foundation years and I had heard good things about the city.
What were the highlights of your course?
For me the highlight has been my involvement in Formula Student. As part of my third-year project, I helped to build the university’s first prototype car by designing the drivetrain of the car, which is basically everything linking the engine to the wheels.
Then, in my masters year, I helped out on several areas of the car including the engine and the engine control unit (ECU). I also helped to take the car to Silverstone as the team leader.
Would you recommend your course?
Yes, I definitely recommend it as a practical way to get involved in engineering. We are very lucky at University of Brighton to have some excellent facilities in heavy engineering and in the advanced engineering building. The IMechE course being accredited is also important as this enables you to more easily become a chartered engineer in the future.
What has been the best part of Formula Student for you?
I really enjoyed designing and building the car all the way along. Even with the inevitable problems and challenges along the way, to have built a car from scratch with a such a small group of students is quite an achievement.
Obviously being able to drive a car at Silverstone, that I helped design and build, was incredibly special and something I won’t forget. But that moment is over before you even know it. Whereas the two-year journey with Formula Student is something you can’t forget.
What are the main things you will take from the Formula Student experience?
The biggest thing has to be the theoretical and practical knowledge you pick up along the way, but also just enjoying the whole experience.
I have also enjoyed working on my teamwork and communication skills throughout the project. As the car is a large multidisciplinary project, it is important to be in constant communication with other members of the team so that everything fits together when you actually start to make it. It helped that I had a couple of friends also working on the project – and I made a few as well.
How do you plan to use your experience and course in the future?
I want to be at the forefront of automotive and motorsport engineering technology and research, which has led me to stay at University of Brighton and undertake an engineering doctorate in advanced engine technology in association with Ricardo. I have ended up with a well-rounded automotive knowledge from my course and my involvement in Formula Student, which has enabled me to get this position.
What has coming to Brighton done for you, both as a student and as a person?
Brighton has given me friends, good nights out, a degree and somehow convinced me to stay for another four years. There are a number of reasons I’m happy I ended up at Brighton. Without getting sentimental: friends and the Formula Student team are all definitely up there.
If you are a University of Brighton student who would like to share your placement or work experience story, please let us know by emailing Marianne Halavage on firstname.lastname@example.org