RMIT designers, engineers use virtual reality to reinvent the wheel

RMIT designers, engineers use virtual reality to reinvent the wheel

RMIT staff and students have developed the inaugural V8 Supercars Melbourne 400 trophy in honour of racing great, Larry Perkins.

The opportunity to design and manufacture the Larry Perkins trophy, which will bear the name of each year’s Coates Hire Supercars Melbourne 400 winner, was offered to RMIT as part of its education partnership with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation.

The creation was led by Senior Lecturer Dr Scott Mayson from the School of Design, with help from a multidisciplinary team of students and staff.

“The final product is more than just a trophy – it's a physical demonstration of what we can accomplish when we collaborate across disciplines,” Mayson said.

“We used a series of different technologies with virtual reality to design and sculpt the form and then we used traditional manufacturing processes to finish off the final design procedure.”

Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott, RMIT Senior Lecturer Dr Scott Mayson, former F1 and Supercars driver Larry Perkins and current Supercars driver Rick Kelly with the Larry Perkins Trophy.

Staying true to the materials and techniques used in the manufacture of modern day race cars, the RMIT team used titanium and carbon fibre for the unique design and the trophy was created using 3D printing techniques at RMIT’s world-class Advanced Manufacturing Precinct.

Larry Perkins, who had a successful career in both Supercars and Formula 1, applauded RMIT’s finished product calling it a “remarkable creation”.

“It’s truly an honour to have the perpetual Coates Hire Supercars Melbourne 400 trophy with my name on it, and it is made even greater now upon having seen the trophy,” he said.

Perkins is himself an engineer and founded the Perkins Engineering race team in 1985, so impressing him was no mean feat. 

The trophy was designed in virtual reality and 3D printed in RMIT’s Advanced Manufacturing Precinct.

RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President Martin Bean CBE said the partnership with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation enabled the University to showcase its leadership, not only in design, but in harnessing disruptive new technologies.

“When a student comes to RMIT, they know they’ll get real industry connections and hands-on experience – this kind of collaboration is our promise made real,” he said.

Now in its second year, RMIT’s partnership with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation will come to life in the Industry and Innovation Precinct at the 2018 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix from 22–25 March.

The precinct highlights Victoria’s outstanding contribution to the automotive, defence, aviation and advanced manufacturing industries and is the ultimate learning hub for thousands of students, future innovators and entrepreneurs.  

RMIT’s pavilion features various stations showcasing the University’s excellence in design, technology and enterprise.

Attendees will be able to experience our brand new flight simulator, meet Baxter the robot in a virtual reality display, see our drones in action and so much more.

Former RMIT Engineering student and Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO, Andrew Westacott, said he was extremely proud of the event’s partnership with RMIT University and the opportunity this presented to event guests. 


Story: Aeden Ratcliffe

22 March 2018


22 March 2018


  • Student experience

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