One third of Formula Student teams choose SUSTAIN fuel, supported by Motorsport UK

For 25 years, the UK Formula Student competition has challenged student teams to produce a working prototype of a single-seat race car for autocross or sprint racing, with a combination of formal presentations and on-track dynamic events used to test their engineering skills.

Despite conditions going from damp to wet at Silverstone during the Saturday, teams braved the rain and slippy conditions to post their best times across multiple events. The rain lessened by Sunday and the track eventually dried, leading to an exciting event to celebrate the competition’s anniversary.

The teams running petrol engines had the chance to run on new SUSTAIN biofuels in a bid towards running a more sustainable competition. These were used by one third of the 130 university teams entering the competition, including overall winners from Modena who were running an E85 fuel.

As part of the 2023 Formula Student competition, Motorsport UK provided entrants with a grant to use Coryton’s sustainable fuels to power their respective ICE powertrains. The fuel is stated to offer up to an 80% reduction in GHG emissions. SUSTAIN Fuel’s products are second-generation biofuels and contain no fossil fuels – the carbon used in the fuels is recycled from the atmosphere.

The University of Wolverhampton sees SUSTAIN 100 as a completely viable solution,” explained Nick Skidmore, from the School of Engineering at the University of Wolverhampton. “It enables us to compete with the lowest impact on the environment using our existing internal combustion engine, which has served us well for the past seven years. It can reduce fossil fuel carbon emissions using ‘above earth’ carbon sources to produce a 100% sustainable petrol and we are pleased to use it for our 2023 Formula Student entry – Wolf #7. We believe this to be the truly sustainable direction to drive the development of our car and the education of our students.”

Sheffield Hallam University’s SHU Racing chose SUSTAIN Fuel’s 95 RON E10 fuel for the sustainability and practical benefits it offered.

“The largest part of choosing it was the sustainable factor,” commented Troy Butler, powertrain lead and MEng automotive engineering student. “For the competition, we have to develop a business case as if we’re presenting to investors, and our concept is a junior racing series, which we’d start in the UK but try to go global with. The sustainable option is the much better choice, especially when it comes to looking at going global. When we looked at it, the cost of EVs globally is quite high, especially for a prototype or spec series.”

“We’re looking to achieve the top 25 percentile in every single event, and then an overall top 10% score in the competition,” said Brendan Bourne, team principal, SHU. “There’s a huge importance within the dynamic (on-track) events to ensure you’re consistently scoring high throughout all the events, while also ensuring your vehicle is reliable and finishes the endurance event with, ideally, a high optimum efficiency, because those can maximize the team’s points.”

“By funding the use of sustainable fuels for those teams that choose an internal combustion engine, we hope to inspire the next generation of engineers to have a broad view of the future technologies of propulsion,” said Hugh Chambers, CEO of Motorsport UK.

David Richardson, business development director at Coryton, said: “It’s been fantastic to see sustainable fuel in action for the first time at Formula Student this year, and we were delighted how many teams decided to take up the option of running on second generation advanced biofuel. It’s important that people see in practice that sustainable fuel is a drop in solution, with no modifications to engines required – and as clearly shown by the competitors at this event, no drop in performance. Well done to everyone who took part in Formula Student – it’s great to see the industry is in safe hands going forward!”

Ian Smith, Technical Director for Motorsport UK said: “Congratulations to all the teams on their professional submissions to the 2023 edition of Formula Student. A particular compliment to the team from Modena, winners of the 2023 Motorsport UK Sustainable Fuels Award for their incredibly successful incorporation of sustainable fuels in their design.”