GKN Automotive goes racing with engineers of tomorrow in formula student

The spiritual home of UK motorsport was host to the Formula Student 2022 finals this summer, with more than 100 teams from over 30 countries around the world competing for the winner’s trophy. As leading partner to two competing teams, GKN Automotive was at Silverstone to support this prestigious international event.

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We have a longstanding affiliation with Formula Student that continues to flourish year-on-year, with the competition providing an important connection with the next generation of engineering talent and the automotive industry.

Organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Formula Student requires teams to design and manufacture a fully functional, small-scale racing car, a project that’s viewed as ‘the standard for engineering graduates to meet, transitioning them from university to the workplace’, by combining practical engineering experience with soft skills including business planning and project management.


As a key sponsor, we provide financial support to the competition, as well as technical assistance to two participating teams from Oxford Brookes University and the University of Nottingham, including the use of our test rigs.

Ole Ramming, Team Lead of Oxford Brookes Racing, talked about our help at this year’s event: “GKN Automotive is a fantastic supporter for a team like Oxford Brookes Racing because not only are they able to assist us with the practical testing of our electrical systems in a safe and controlled environment to the highest motorsports standards, but they are also keen to share their technical knowledge and advice with the team. This allows a much more sustainable and directed development than Oxford Brookes would otherwise be able to have.”

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The partnership is a two-way street, with GKN Automotive benefitting from participation across the business. Formula Student has become an excellent talent resource, allowing us to establish a pipeline of candidates who have shown that they share our values and approach. We can tap into this when opportunities arise in a quick, cost-effective way that means we’re getting the best, most suitable candidates when we need them. The work they’ve done with Formula Student helps to ensure they have practical experience and applied learning, which means they are ready for the challenges of a professional role sooner after leaving the world of academia.

Melissa Chigubu, Apprentice Engineer at GKN Automotive’s Innovation Centre in Abingdon, shared her experience mentoring the next young generation of engineers, commenting: “Working with the Formula Student teams has not only taught me the technical requirements in making a car, but the dedication, discipline and work ethics that come along with it. The passion I have seen in each one of the team members has shown me that Formula Student is so much more than just a race. It is work. It is a hobby. It is a community. It is inclusive. It is encouraging. It is so much more than I thought I understood. Every single role is just as important as the other and watching many young people show dedication, precision and responsibility in their work continues to impress me every time.”


Our association with Formula Student is part of GKN Automotive’s wider commitment to STEM-based activities, which has also seen us support the Greenpower Project. It has also allowed us to forge strong relationships with universities and improves engagement, as well as mentorship and leadership skills, among those of our staff who are involved.

At Silverstone, Shreeja Basak, part of the University of Nottingham Racing team, told us: “STEM projects showcase a university's ability to encourage the development of real-world skills. I would recommend universities to get involved with GKN Automotive, as they are proactive and incredibly supportive partners to STEM projects at all levels.”