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RS Components bring Saints Performance Automotive Design Closer to a Vehicle

Team Overview

Saints Performance Automotive Design (SPAD) is the University of St Andrews’ first Formula Student team and one of the newest teams to join the Formula Student competition.  

In 2020, a group of St Andrews students created SPAD to provide a more hands-on application of their classroom knowledge. Without a dedicated engineering department, we lack the advantage of many other teams competing in Formula Student. However, the very core of engineering is solving complex problems with simple solutions. Because of SPAD’s more limited resources, we constantly find ourselves exploring new and innovative paths to evolve our project and expand upon our knowledge every day, approaching every hurdle as a new learning opportunity.  

As we join the growing list of electric vehicle teams in Formula Student UK, we hope to provide a different and refreshing take on automotive engineering. Our members come from diverse backgrounds with degrees ranging from theology and Greek to experimental physics and computer science. With this range of perspectives, our combined knowledge provides limitless possibilities.  

This year, our team has chosen a design philosophy that focuses on making a reliable vehicle that is both fun to drive and easily manufactured by those with limited engineering experience. In the development of our 2022 vehicle, a strong emphasis will be placed on designing a car that will be able to perform well specifically in the endurance event. Our design decisions are predicated on being safe, reliable, and easily manufactured. Our team was founded on our passion for Formula motorsport, and we wanted our designs to reflect our love for both the sport and our Formula Student project.  

Since our foundation, we have gained the support of our university and several financial backers. We have acquired many of the tools needed for the construction of our vehicle from RS Components and have investigated channels for procuring materials. We have enlisted the help of a welder as well as several professional engineers who can help us acquire the engineering expertise that we need to safely construct a competitive vehicle.  

SPAD has grown to over 100 members hailing from over 25 countries. We have instituted programs to help new members learn the basics of automotive engineering and are proud to promote our local businesses as we strengthen the bond with our Scottish roots.  

Vehicle Features 

Our 2022 vehicle prioritises convenience. This can be seen in our unique chassis design. The steel space frame sits the driver off centre to make space for the accumulator to their right. This asymmetry provides easier access to the accumulator when it requires a charge. While this puts our driver in an odd position, the ease of accessibility to the accumulator more than compensates for it. The suspension will make up for the uneven weight distribution, and where necessary, additional weights will be added below the accumulator. 

Vehicle Design

With a rear-wheel-drive setup coupled with a double wishbone suspension, our car will be easy to both manufacture and repair. Designing primarily with readily available parts ensures efficient on-track adjustments and services. Simulations have our vehicle running quickly and efficiently with an Emrax 228 motor and a series of Samsung INR 18650-25R rechargeable lithium-ion cells totalling to 3.6V and 20Ah in capacity. 

Journey to the Competition 

This year, SPAD competed in the Concept class for the 2022 Formula Student competition. While this doesn’t require a physical car, we designed a vehicle and made several prototypes in preparation for our 2023 entry. Using the tools we’ve obtained from RS Components, we made a 1:1 model of our chassis to better understand the ergonomics and positioning of components within our car.  

Upgrades and Development 

After the 2022 competition, we are eager and ready to build a vehicle for 2023. As we continue to hone our skills and gain more experience in automotive engineering, we intend to upgrade our designs to come ever closer to a viable and competitive racecar. In the coming year, we plan to redesign our accumulator and suspension systems to reflect the knowledge we learned on our trip to Silverstone for the 2022 Formula Student competition. Running more simulations using software like OptimumLap and Formula CarMaker, we will gain more specific information on where we can improve our designs before we put a car on the road. 


Perhaps the most blatant limitations of our team are inherent to the University of St Andrews itself. First and foremost, differing from a number of top universities, St Andrews does not host a Makerspace in which we would manufacture parts in a dedicated space with consistent access for the team. Instead, we are currently continuing our search for commercial garage units in and around the town of St Andrews, which not only means our ability to assemble the vehicle is hindered during the search but incurs additional financial hurdles. Normally expenses like this would be easy to work through; however, the University of St Andrews doesn’t have an engineering course, meaning engineering projects such as SPAD don’t come with school subsidies. As such, SPAD is entirely reliant on the generosity of our sponsors and the efficiency of our members in resource procurement and utilisation. All in all, SPAD is as grassroots as a motorsport team can get. 

Future Plans 

The coming year can be boiled down to a few main priorities. First and foremost, the team needs to redesign the vehicle while simultaneously procuring vehicle components and sponsorship. Once these goals are complete, we will be utilising the lessons learned at Summer 2022’s competition. While we redesign the vehicle for our 2023 entry, we are ever thankful to our sponsors like RS Components that help make our project possible. We hope to have a competitive vehicle on track at the 2023 competition, and as such have the chance to show off the hard work that the entire team has put into it.


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