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Students build go-kart for engineering challenge

Original Motorsport

A four week engineering challenge gave first year students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) the opportunity to build and test a full size go-kart.

UCLan Engineering hold a practical challenge at the start of each academic year as part of new students’ introduction to their course. This is an opportunity for students to get to know each other while demonstrating their passion for their chosen discipline.

This year students were required to design and build a full size engine driven go-kart and develop electronic solutions for testing, which took place on the University rolling road. Working in groups of seven, the teams were made up of students from mechanical, motorsport, electronic, robotic and computer aided engineering courses.

Tony Broad, lecturer and first year tutor within UCLan Engineering, explained: “The challenge takes place in the first few weeks of term and requires first year students to work as a team to solve a problem.
“It’s a way of them getting to know each other as well as getting to know the staff and facilities at the University. It also introduces them to the subjects they will be studying.”


“It gave a taste of what it would be like to be an engineer, overcoming problems and working as part of a team to design and make something which could be used or required in the real world.”


Teams were given a list of materials and components available to them, which included the UCLan giant Meccano for the internal framework of the kart, a 50cc engine and access to specialist CAD software to aid them with design solutions. The price of materials was also provided, with the cost of design being a major judging factor.

The challenge combined two competitions. A gravity race asked students to calculate the distance their kart would roll from the top of a 20 degree ramp, with team closest to their predicted distance gaining the most points. The challenge finished with a powered rolling road test on the motorcycle dynamometer with a fitted engine.

All UCLan Engineering students have the opportunity to take part in a number of challenges throughout their degree. MEng (Hons) Motorsports Engineering student Finn Walker, who also participated in the iMech Challenge, believes these opportunities will be have benefits once he graduates.

He said: “It gave a taste of what it would be like to be an engineer, overcoming problems and working as part of a team to design and make something which could be used or required in the real world.”