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Teenager aims for repeat of electric racing car victory with help of WMG 3D scanning

Dave Cullimore and WMG researcher Mike Donnelly 3D scan the car A 19-year old electric racing car engineer whose design triumphed in the national Greenpower race finals is using WMG’s 3D scanning expertise to build an even faster version for next year’s competition.

The Greenpower Electric Car challenge – sponsored by Siemens – supports the teaching and learning of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) at all levels of education, from primary schools through to universities. Teams of students design, build, and race single seat electric cars and compete in regional heats up and down the UK culminating in the nation finals held every year at the famous Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit.

Last year’s national final winner in the Formula 24+ category , which covers car designers between the age of 16 and 25, was Dave Cullimore from Cheltenham, who beat off stiff competition from 21 other teams from all over the UK.

Although many of his rivals made use of computer-assisted design techniques, virtual wind tunnels and the latest lightweight materials such as carbon fibre, Dave triumphed despite a more modest approach.

He built his car ‘Jet’ on his own in the summer holidays after his A Levels, using little more than pen and pencil drawings and plywood.

Dave believes it was Jet’s aerodynamic design which secured his triumph over cars which benefitted from more high-tech materials and design techniques.

However he wants to return to next year’s race with an even faster car, which is why he has now enlisted the help of WMG, an academic department of the University of Warwick which works very closely with industry on collaborative R&D projects.

WMG used its 3D scanning facility, within the Premium Vehicle Customer Interface Technology Centre, to generate a high quality digital model of the car’s outer surface which Dave will use to develop and improve his design in Solid Edge CAD software from Siemens PLM. The 3D scanned surface will allow Dave to analyse his ‘hand-built’ car, identify areas for improvement, and design composite lay-up tooling to produce a higher quality aerodynamic body for next year’s Greenpower Challenge.Dave Cullimore in his hand-built car Jet

Dave said: “I built Jet on my own in my Dad’s garage using my own intuition and a bit of basic theory about how to make it as aerodynamic as possible.”

“This meant I had to compromise on other areas in order to get the car in the shape that I wanted it – for example the cockpit is very small compared to other cars.”

“However my design hunches paid off and I won the Greenpower Formula 24+ series last year, competing against what some might describe as more high-tech vehicles that had used CAD technology and the latest materials.

“But you can’t stand still in racing and all the other teams will be updating their designs for next year, and I need to do that too.

“For next season’s race, I will keep the basic design of the car but rebuild it with carbon fibre, and to do that I need to have the digital files, which is where WMG’s 3D scanning expertise comes in.

“I hope that with the help of WMG, I’ll be able to develop my design and Jet Mk2 will deliver even better performance and hopefully help me win again next year!”

Thanks to his involvement in the Greenpower Challenge Dave is currently completing a placement at Jaguar Land Rover’s research facility based at WMG, so he was able to work very closely with the 3D scanning team.

Professor Mark Williams of WMG at the University of Warwick said: “Dave has built an amazing car which clearly proved its worth in the Greenpower finals.

“It’s very impressive that he managed to do this without using any of the technologies that are common to motorsport today.

“Our 3D scanning technology at WMG will help him take the next step and hopefully secure another win again next year.”

Mike Brown, Director of the mainstream engineering academic programme at Siemens PLM praised both Dave and the Greenpower Challenge

He said: “Dave Cullimore is a perfect example of what can be achieved with determination, dedication, passion, and ingenuity.

“We’re delighted to help Dave develop his Greenpower car and will be very interested to see how he develops his design in our industry leading software, Solid Edge, and if he can squeeze any more performance out of his design.”

With respect to the Greenpower Challenge Mike continued: “We would encourage every school, College and University to take part in the Greenpower Challenge as it provides students with a highly engaging and academically rich project that directly supports the teaching and learning of the STEM subjects while also giving practical hands-on experience in a range of engineering disciplines, it also promotes teamwork and let’s not forget it’s also great fun.”

On the importance of building links between industry and education Mike added: “It’s vital for both our education system and economy that we develop links between industry and academia.

“The approach taken by Siemens and WMG in developing these links will deliver real value back into the education system and ultimately benefit our innovative engineering and manufacturing industries.”


For further information please contact University of Warwick press officer Anna Blackaby on 02476 575910 or a dot blackaby at warwick dot ac dot uk

About Greenpower

The successful Greenpower challenge to design, build, and race a single seat electric car, provides young people with an unique hands on opportunity to engage in engineering.

The proven project uses the excitement of motorsport to inspire students from primary school to university to excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematical studies, with the added result of delivering social and behavioural benefits. Currently over 450 schools and other groups throughout the UK are involved in the project, a figure that Greenpower is looking to significantly increase.

Greenpower Education Trust. Registered charity 133536. Patrons: The Earl of March, Goodwood Estate. David Richards CBE, Chairman, Aston Martin and Prodrive



For further information please contact University of Warwick press officer Anna Blackaby on 02476 575910 or a dot blackaby at warwick dot ac dot uk