The annual F1 in Schools race combines fast cars and an international competition to showcase the fun side of STEM education.
A team of four up-and-coming young car designers have zoomed across the finish line as 2017 winners of the international F1 in Schools competition, which challenges STEM students to design and race a scaled-down Formula 1 vehicle.
Team Hyperdrive from Trinity Grammar School in Victoria out raced 50 other teams from 27 countries to take the top spot at the annual F1 in Schools competition. Not only that, they were also awarded the title of Best Engineered Car. The team members – Alec Alder, Kyle Winkler, David Greig and Hugh Bowman – are all aged between 15 and 17. PhD students from Swinburne University provided advice and technical support.
Greig said that as the aerodynamics engineer for Team Hyperdrive, computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations, along with testing and refining the profile of the design to minimise drag, were essential to achieving the winning time of 1.109 seconds, with a reaction time of 0.160 seconds.
The world record for the competition is 0.916 seconds, which was set by the Australian team in 2016. The Fastest Car title was also brought home by Australian teams for three years running between 2011 and 2013.
“Our greatest achievement is becoming World Champions against millions of students globally. But also winning the Best Engineered Car award on the global stage is a credit to Kyle and David’s work. It wouldn’t have been possible without Swinburne’s insight,” said Bowman, Team Hyperdrive manager.
The annual global competition is run by F1 in Schools, which encourages students between nine and 19 to use computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software to design, build, test and race miniature balsa wood vehicles powered by compressed air. This year, the F1 in Schools world final was held in Kuala Lumpar.
According to Re-Engineering Australia Foundation, the supporting organisation for F1 in Schools, the competition is designed to help change perceptions of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) by creating a fun and exciting learning environment for young people. The challenge runs in 40 countries, involves 40,000 Australian students each year, and reaches almost 20 million students worldwide.