9th July 2015, 10:59am
Student design team go for glory in international Soapbox Race
University of Lincoln Soapbox illustration A dare-devil team of Lincoln design students will compete against amateur drivers from across the globe this weekend in one of the world’s wackiest non-motorised racing events.

The Red Bull Soapbox Race launched in Brussels in 2000 and since then it has travelled around the world – from Australia to South Africa, Helsinki to St. Louis, Jamaica to Italy. It sees international drivers race home-made soapbox vehicles, fuelled by nothing but gravity, courage and intelligent design.

The Red Bull Soapbox Race will take place at Alexandra Palace in London on Sunday 12th July 2015, and a team of students from the University of Lincoln have secured a coveted space on the starting grid.

The team of first-year Product Design students from the University’s School of Architecture & Design was chosen from thousands of international entries. Led by student Ben Pickard, the team is one of only around 50 to be selected to take part in the race.

They will race around the 500 metre circuit in a soapbox vehicle specially designed to replicate a military tank – a concept which was originally established in the historic city of Lincoln.

Speaking about the design, Ben said: “Our inspiration for the design came from a drawing lecture which took place at the Lincolnshire Life Museum, where there was a tank for us to view. With such historic connections to Lincoln, we felt it would be really appropriate and a great project for us to work on.”

The team have designed the vehicle completely from scratch, creating each of the mechanisms, forming the steel framework and making the tank-shaped exterior from MDF themselves.

Ben added: “The Red Bull Soap Box will be great fun, but making our vehicle has also tested our design skills. Many of the design and making skills that we’ve learned over the last year have been put into practice, and we’re confident our vehicle will do us proud this weekend.”

The Lincoln tank will be up against a plethora of unusual vehicles, with previous Red Bull Soapbox creations including a piano, a giant baby carriage, a rodeo clown, a jail cell and the Golden Gate Bridge. This year’s vehicles will be judged on speed, creativity and showmanship.

The event at Alexandra Palace is now sold out, with an audience of 30,000 expected on the day, and it will also be broadcast nationally on Dave, at 6pm on Sunday 12th July.

Stewart Bibby, Programme Leader for Product Design at the University of Lincoln, said: “We are extremely proud of our students for being selected to compete in the race. It is a fun event to be taking part in but their success, when pitted against thousands of other international entries, is testament to their excellent design skills and creativity.”
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