A sponsor since 2014, SKF continues to provide support for Cardiff Racing - Cardiff University’s triumphant 2017 season Formula Student team - supplying bearings for the winning car’s suspension and drive train.
The 56-strong Cardiff Racing team beat off fierce competition at this year’s event, which took place at Silverstone over a weekend in late July, to be crowned Class 1 Overall Winners. The Cardiff team is the first UK outright winner of the competition since the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) took over the running of the annual European event in 1998.
A keen supporter and sponsor of the team, SKF supplied a range of bearings for the car and provided technical assistance on bearings selection and installation throughout the 2017 car design programme. The team’s design goals included reducing friction losses in the drive train and suspension components, and achieving maximum reliability of the car during the competition’s gruelling trials.
There are over 50 SKF bearings of various types used in the construction of Cardiff University’s Formula Student 2017 car. The car's suspension alone features 44 SKF bearings, including 32 rod ends installed in the suspension wishbones. SKF left or right-hand, female or male threaded rod ends consist of an eye-shaped head with integral shank, housing a spherical plain bearing. The suspension also includes four SKF needle roller bearings complete with inner ring at the rockers – a compact solution for this space limited application.
Eight SKF GE10 C maintenance-free spherical plain bearings are used in the support of the wishbone staking plates. These units are available in two formats: steel against PTFE or steel against sintered bronze, both of which are suitable for applications requiring very low friction.
Meanwhile, the hubs, drive train and steering mount assembly are equipped with more than 10 SKF type 619/8-2RS1 sealed deep groove ball bearings. A very widely used type of bearing, SKF can supply these robust, highly versatile, low-maintenance units in many designs, variants and sizes.
The annual Formula Student competition began in 1981 in the United States as the Formula SAE programme, the brainchild of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). In 1998, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) in the UK took over the management of the European side of things in partnership with the SAE and the competition has taken place at the end of each academic year since then. It is Europe's most established educational motorsport competition, supported by industry and high-profile engineers. The aim of the competition is to develop enterprising and innovative young engineers and to encourage more young people to take up a career in engineering.