Go-ahead Manchester surface coatings manufacturer, HMG Paints, has continued its support of the Manchester Metropolitan University entry in Formula Student, Europe’s biggest student motorsport event. Run by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and backed by some of Formula 1’s biggest names, including Brawn GP team principal, Ross Brawn, Formula Student helps to breed world-class engineers, by challenging university students from around the world to design and build open-wheeled racing cars, then race them around the Silverstone circuit. Competing against more than a hundred universities from 23 different countries, the MMU team finished a creditable 47th, making significant progress on last year’s performance, and came 11th in the Cost category, having spent a comparatively modest £10k on building the car.
Collyhurst-based HMG Paints has a prolonged track record of supplying the automotive and commercial transport sectors with high performance paint systems, from classic car finishes to compliant coatings for bus and coach fleets, and was pleased to support the MMU entry for the second year running, with a high quality cellulose system widely used for car refinishing. The topcoat was a classic, white M99 Cellulose, which gives excellent gloss straight from the gun, complete with matched primer and undercoat.
“Formula Student provides an excellent way of learning through practical application, providing us with a real-life exercise in design and manufacturing,” says Dean O’Reilly, a first year MMU Engineering undergraduate, who liaised between the FS team and HMG. “It blends academic work with the development of practical engineering skills and many employers consider it to be worth a year’s work experience.”
The first year that MMU, the UK’s fifth most popular university, entered Formula Student, the team was somewhat overwhelmed by the level of professionalism, and budgets, displayed by the overseas universities; one German team even had its design built by motor manufacturer, Audi! In contrast, MMU has a relatively small team, with around fifteen mechanical, automotive and electrical engineering students, built the car entirely in-house and operates on a tight budget, relying on local companies like HMG to defray costs.
“When we returned from Silverstone, we were straight into the design and build for 2010,” reports Dean. “We shall retain the same chassis, but modify the car to run on bioethanol, produced by the sugar fermentation process, so that we can compete in the up-and-coming alternative fuels category. At the same time, we are starting a separate 2-year build project for the 2011 car, with which we hope to be amongst the top ten teams.”
HMG’s Managing Director, John Falder, says the company will continue to support the MMU team, not least because of the potential commercial spin-offs: “Formula Student is a perfect showcase for all of our automotive products and we’re supporting young engineers who may even end up specifying our paint systems one day,” he says.
“Besides, after coming from the bottom of the pack, to halfway up the order in just one year, we fully expect them to be at the top of the pile by 2011 … well, here’s hoping anyway,” John adds.
Further enquiries to HMG Paints at Riverside Works, Collyhurst Road, Manchester M40 7RU, telephone 0161 205 7631, email firstname.lastname@example.org