Aspiring engineers at Northampton College are in pole position to get their careers off to a winning start having taken top spot in the regional heats of a competition to find the next stars of Formula One.
The Ignite NC team were crowned the winners of the regional heats of the global competition in Boston and will now take part in the UK finals. If they succeed there, they could be heading to the world finals in Singapore.
F1 in Schools is a worldwide multi-disciplinary challenge in which teams use CAD/CAM software to design, analyse, manufacture, test and then race miniature compressed air-powered cars.
The Northampton College team secured sponsorship and support from local employers including Barclays, Cosworth, Alcon Engineering, Arnold Plastics and Metrol Springs to help with the development of their car, and travelled in style to the regional heats thanks to the loan of a Land Rover Defender 130 and Jaguar iPace from Sytner JLR.
Engineering tutor Neil Tobin said:
“It’s the first year we have entered the competition so we weren’t sure what to expect but the students, staff and industry partners have really bought into the concept and things have snowballed massively. To win every single category in the regionals on our first go is incredible and everyone is a bit taken aback by what’s happened.
“The collaboration between departments has made this a truly special project to work on and we can’t wait to refine our car and performance in the coming weeks and months to hopefully be competitive on a national and, maybe, international level.
“Having the carrot of a trip to Singapore certainly focuses the mind and it’s going to be a very exciting period for everyone involved.”
The challenge inspires students to use IT to learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacture, branding, graphics, sponsorship, marketing, leadership/teamwork, media skills and financial strategy, and apply them in a practical, imaginative, competitive and exciting way. Teams must raise sponsorship and manage budgets to fund research, travel and accommodation.
As F1 in Schools is a not-for-profit organisation, any funds raised through sponsorship are invested in administering, developing and expanding the challenge.
The Ignite NC team is made up of project manager Abel Adosinaba, finance manager Joshua Hackett, manufacturing engineer Matthew Knight, design engineer Lucas Buksh, graphic designer Samuel Shears and sponsorship and marketing manager Kiera O‘Neil.
The college team is focusing on the environmental impact of its involvement in the competition and, as part of its submission, is looking at ways of improving sustainability by planting trees to offset carbon use and recycling gas cylinders into clocks and model cars.