Published: 18 December 2023
A formula racing car built by students from Hampshire has run its final lap and found a home on the podium at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu.
The single-seat racer, engineered by University of Southampton undergraduates, has been retired after several seasons challenging for top spot in the Formula Student competition.
The spirited petrol-powered vehicle was named Stag 6B by the young team and becomes the only formula racing car of its kind in Beaulieu’s famous collection.
Final-year student Keira Byrne, who leads the Southampton team, has already landed her first job at Aston Martin’s F1 outfit and will start after graduating next summer.
She said: “It’s wonderful to see something we built from scratch being displayed at the museum alongside some of the world’s most famous vehicles. Our car looks a little different from everything else at Beaulieu so it really stands out.
“We hope it shows children who love motorsport like we do that getting into the sport is attainable and you don’t need much background or experience to start.”
The Formula Student competition sees UK universities build and race their own cars at the biggest tracks across Europe, including Silverstone.
It is a tournament which the University of Southampton has been contesting for the last decade – but only the Stag 6B car has come close to winning it, finishing second in its class and fifth overall in 2021.
Fellow students Max O’Brien, who himself is joining Red Bull’s F1 team, and teammate Ash Johnson added: “It’s a mixed bag of feelings to see the Stag 6B retire after so many years of hard work and success on the track, but it’s great that we are part of Beaulieu’s history.
“There are a few zip ties and welding marks here and there on the car, but it shows the real effort of our team to get our hands dirty to be successful.”
The Stag 6B’s 600cc engine, which was taken from a CBR600RR motorbike, was purposely limited to around 75 brake horsepower for the Formula Student competition.
It now sits in the National Motor Museum’s collection centre and join its wider exhibition which includes the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang vehicle and cars from BBC’s Top Gear.
Beaulieu Deputy CEO and Director of Collections Andrea Bishop said the Stag 6B racer is unique in the museum.
She added: “The car is unlike anything we have here – and it will proudly be displayed in our collections centre to demonstrate our commitment to the next generation of motor enthusiasts.
“We are delighted that we are developing our relationship with the University of Southampton and we welcome its students into our history.”
The formula student team at Southampton has, since its School of Engineering started racing a decade ago, become one of the UK’s most successful and is now working on an electric-powered racer.
It is now around 400 strong, said Professor Andy Cruden who oversees the society, and is open to students from any degree to help them launch a career in motorsport.
He added: “Beaulieu is a treasure trove of history, and we are delighted that a vehicle built and raced by our own students is on show in its car collection.
“Careers in motorsport can be challenging to get into so we created the Southampton team to give the students confidence and experience, no matter their background.”
The Stag 6B racer can be seen at the National Motor Museum’s collection centre at Beaulieu which is available by appointment.
Find out more at www.beaulieu.co.uk/attractions/national-motor-museum.
Read about the University of Southampton’s formula student team at www.sufst.co.uk.