The University of Bolton student team’s car achieved pole position with an incredible almost five-second gap today after qualifying in wet conditions at the Silverstone Classic weekend.
Monaco Historic champion Michael Lyons raced the 1981 Ensign 180B historic F1 which had been prepared by a team of students from the University’s National Centre for Motorsport Engineering (NCME).
Lyons’ time was 2 minutes 9.818 seconds in the qualifying session this afternoon. The next best time was 2mins 14.556 seconds.
The University of Bolton team will be on pole position for the grid at tomorrow’s race.
NCME student team working on the Ensign F1 racing car
As the team prepared for this weekend’s Masters Historic F1 event, the classic car had been put through its paces in tests at RAF Marham and the Anglesey race circuit.
The iconic Ensign car has been loaned to the University by Bob Fernley, a motor racing veteran with 40 years of experience, who has run teams on both sides of the Atlantic in Can Am, IndyCar and F1.
Bob said: “Everyone was really pleased with the result and so they should be – it has come after a lot of hard work.
“The tests that have been undertaken have translated into success. We have resolved mechanical issues and worked very hard on aerodynamic testing to optimise the car aerodynamically.”
Mark Busfield, Director of NCME, who pioneered the course at the University of Bolton with a dedicated team of Industry and academic specialists in 2017, said: “This is testament to all the hard work and dedication that the students have put in through a very difficult year with Covid. We are delighted.”
The aim of this project is to help fully understand the aerodynamic effect of the car through a student scientific programme.
The project is the NCME students’ first venture into Formula One with its aerodynamic complexities. It presents a huge challenge.
Their work involves them translating data collected during the track test into a computer-fluid dynamics CFD) modelling which can be used to optimise the ground effects of the 1981 Ensign.