June 16, 2016, by Emma Lowry
Podium finish for Nottingham electric bike at Isle of Man TT Zero race
An electric superbike developed from scratch by The University of Nottingham has secured the quickest ever time for a university team at the Isle of Man TT Zero race.
After coming third across the finish line at the SES TT Zero Challenge on Wednesday 8 June 2016, Nottingham is now officially the fastest university in TT history. The team was also awarded a prize for Best Team in the TT for 2016.
The team’s rider, Daley Mathison, reached an average lap speed of 99.884mph on the Nottingham electric superbike, UoN-01, a significant gain on 73.156mph achieved last year when the team came sixth.
The podium place this time shows just how far The University of Nottingham team, sponsored by MuRata and others, has pushed the electric motorbike technology forward.
It also marks an unprecedented milestone in Mathison’s racing career – on only his second time competing in the Isle of Man TT – his first on an electric bike – he notched up his first podium result.
The team is led by researchers Dr Miquel Gimeno-Fabra and Dr Marco Degano, PhD student Jonathan Blissett and Professor Pat Wheeler, all from the Faculty of Engineering.
Their passion and fundamental understanding of the technology, they believe, is what secured their success ahead of big-name manufacturers like Honda and Victory as well as other competing universities such as Bath, Kingston and Brunel.
Motorsport fanatic, Dr Miquel Gimeno-Fabra said: “We were still seen as the underdogs prior to this year’s TT Zero Race, but we have proved our abilities with a podium place. It’s a seriously competitive environment and we’ve achieved fantastic results with only a tenth of the investment of big bike manufacturers racing against us.
“It’s a testament to the hard work and talent of the team coupled with the research expertise we have in this field. We are now race favourites and aim to finish on top of the podium next year.”
The Nottingham team now has its sights set on the MotoE road racing series, which starts in July. The team won this all-electric European motorcycle championship last year. UoN-01 will be racing again, along with a new, faster electric motorbike, UoN-02.
For the MotoE races this time around, Daley Mathison be joined by Florida-based rider Jeremiah Johnson who rode for the Nottingham team in their first season, just two years ago.
On the back of recent successes, the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering – home to the Nottingham electric superbike has secured investment from the Faculty of Engineering for a new electric vehicle race team.
The team will develop electric race vehicles to participate in international electric superbike competitions and the global Formula Student motorsport challenge to develop and race single-seat racing cars, run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. For Formula Student, Nottingham will play to its strengths; concentrating efforts on electric-powered race car development in a joint venture with the Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering.
The new electric vehicle race team will be managed by a full-time academic; have a dedicated workshop space in a prominent location to design, test and build the vehicles; a full-time technician to manage the workshop and finance to support electric vehicle construction.
Professor Pat Wheeler, head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, said: “This exciting venture will provide extra-curricular opportunities for students and staff to be part of the race team, in roles as varied as technology design to marketing, as well as full-time summer placements.
“The aim is to provide unprecedented real-world engineering experience for students, in coveted locations such at the Isle of Man TT, to ensure they successfully transition from university to the workplace.”
With student employability high on the race team’s agenda, they secured £10,000 of CASCADE funding to involve eight engineering students in the 2016 race season.
Read our tribute to Daley, who sadly died following a crash while racing for the MADMAX Race Team at the 2019 Isle of Man TT here.
Congratulations to you all for a magnificent effort.
Great to see the bike running so well after the trials and tribulations of the last week.
So very well done.
Joe (ex ManTTx Team)