Amidst Nigeria’s struggle for relevance in
the global technology sphere, some
Nigerian undergraduates have imprinted
the country’s name on the stone by
clinching the title for the Best African
representative and Best New Comers at the
July 2012 Formula Student Competition
where they were charged with the task of
designing and constructing a formula race
car.
The Nigerian undergraduates (christened
The NUTA_BOLTS Team) who are currently
studying for a various Engineering degrees
at the Anambra State University were
Nigeria’s sole representative at the annual
event whose 2012 series took place in
Silverstone Circuit, Northampton, UK. Six
other African universities (five from Egypt
and one from South Africa) also participated
in the competition the competition that
drew contestants from 222 universities
around the globe.
The Formula Student is an educational
motorsport competition, run by the
Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE),
in partnership with various well-known
companies in the industry. It promotes
careers and excellence in engineering, by
challenging university students from across
the globe to design, build, develop, market
and compete as a team with a small single
sitter racing car. It provides the students
with a real-life exercise in design and
manufacture and the business elements of
automotive engineering. It teaches them all
about team work, working under pressure
and to tight timescales. It demands total
commitment, lots of late nights, and many
frustrations and challenges along the way,
but the net result is the development of
highly talented young engineers.
The competition starts at the beginning of
the university year when teams start to
design their cars. They are to assume that a
manufacturing firm has commissioned
them to produce a prototype car for the
non-professional autocross or sprint racer
sales market with the intention of selling
one thousand units. To encourage
innovation, there are very few restrictions
on the overall vehicle design. Successful
teams are those who produce a car that is
not only fast and reliable, but also low in
cost and easy to maintain. The car’s
marketability is also enhanced by other
factors such as aesthetics, driver comfort
and the use of common parts.
The competition offers team the
opportunity to undertake real-life
challenges and logistics, and develop the
skills they will need when they go on work
in industry.
For the NUTA_BOLTS boys whose design
was judged the 7th Overall Best, fame didn’t
just come. They have been working
laboriously since 2008 forging seemingly
trivial but ingenious designs. The first
design they embarked on then was that of
a unique Nut and Bolt which gave them the
name (The Nuta_Bolts). They went further
designing many other components like the
key-holder-opener using the conventional
lathe machine, they also modeled the speed
cone of a lathe machine and later designed
a miniature camera. They were on plans to
designing and producing a multiple
Grinding Machine when the IMechE team
visited their school.
Twenty one in number, the team, whom
Professor Bamiro (former Vice Chancellor of
the University of Ibadan) suggests would
make good technopreneurs is armed with
strong willed and motivated students from
the fields of Mechanical Engineering,
Architecture, Electrical & Electronics
Engineering, Civil Engineering and Chemical
Engineering organizing themselves as a
modern company.
The team according to team Leader,
Onyenanu Ifeanyichukwu “has already
kicked off preparation module to build the
car and race it in Silverstone by July, 2013.”
As contained in the communiqué issued at
the end of the 21st COREN Assembly where
the NUTA_BOLTS team presented a lecture,
the government has been “requested to
financially support the team to enable them
develop, fabricate and commission the race
car”.

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