The WorldFirst Formula 3 racing car is powered by chocolate, steered by carrots, has bodywork made from potatoes, and can still do 125mph around corners.
It is the first Formula 3 racing car designed and made from sustainable and renewable materials, putting the world first by effectively managing the planet’s resources. The car meets all the Formula 3 racing standards except for its engine as Formula 3 cars currently cannot use biodiesel.
Components made from plants form the mainstay of the car's make up, including a race specification steering wheel derived from carrots and other root vegetables, a flax fibre and soybean oil foam racing seat, a woven flax fibre bib, plant oil based lubricants and a biodiesel engine configured to run on fuel derived from waste chocolate and vegetable oil. It also incorporates a radiator coated in a ground-breaking emission destroying catalyst.
The research team, led by Dr Kerry Kirwan, Dr Steve Maggs and project manager James Meredith, have demonstrated sustainable technologies and the capabilities of researchers at WMG with the development the WorldFirst Formula 3 racing car. For the future, a key role for the car is education: to embed the car and some of the questions it raises into the student learning experience and to take the car out to the public to engage them in discussion about its engineering and science.
Initially the car will provide a platform for a number of student projects. It is vitally important to provide relevant and exciting engineering challenges to students wishing to pursue a career in engineering. Having a product such as WorldFirst to work on encourages students to truly demonstrate their creativity and ingenuity whilst applying the engineering principles that they have learnt whilst at university.
The paradoxical mix of motorsport and sustainable technology also provides an ideal platform to inspire younger minds. The team will take the car out to schools, exhibitions and other events and use it to stimulate discussion related to engineering and how it can improve our society and the world around us. With renewed interest in F1 and motorsport in general, the car will no doubt draw interest from children and youngsters who perhaps would not normally look to engineering as a possible career choice.