Top Gear presenter James May added a buzz of excitement to campus life on Wednesday 22nd April when he visited the new state-of-the-art Engineering building.
The Lancaster graduate was up in the North West to meet the University’s Formula Student Race Car team, of which he is patron.
James was hosted by Head of Engineering, Professor Malcom Joyce, and was impressed by what he saw. 'The new building is fantastic. Ecologically designed, full of great equipment – it’s a great place to study and conduct research.'
James took time to look over the student race car, a design project led by Dr Chris Lingwood, which sees a Lancaster team competing at Silverstone in the annual Formula Student championship. He complimented the team on the look and feel of their car and even offered to help make some of the components for the 2016 version.
The popular television presenter also enjoyed modelling for one of Lancaster’s 3-D printers, which produced a precise resin model of him. 'The general engineering training on offer here is really impressive,' he commented.
James, who left Lancaster in 1985 and received an honorary doctorate from the University in 2010, also took time for a trip down memory lane. 'It’s great to find the core of the University much the same as I remember it. The campus has probably doubled in size since my time, though, with buildings and facilities we could only dream of back in the eighties.'
Although James remained tight-lipped about the future of Top Gear, his reception at Lancaster demonstrated his fan base remains as strong as ever. 'The visit was planned as a low-key event,' commented Nick Fragel, Director of Alumni, Development & Events, 'but the power of social media ensured that many students managed to get to meet James. He made time for everyone, posing for dozens of ‘selfies’. We were delighted to have him back on campus.'