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Dynamic developers rocket to victory in 1.147 seconds

Blacktown Sun

By Jade Wittmann

GIRRAWEEN High School students zoomed to victory at the F1 in Schools Technology Challenge state final.

Wheely good result: Solar Eclipse team member Laura Bocks, 14, with their F1 model car, which cleared the 20 metre racetrack in 1.147 seconds propelled by a soda bulb. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Wheely good result: Solar Eclipse team member Laura Bocks, 14, with their F1 model car, which cleared the 20 metre racetrack in 1.147 seconds propelled by a soda bulb. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Year 8 team Solar Eclipse won the development class of the event held at the University of Western Sydney’s Kingswood campus on October 10.

They were also recognised for best team portfolio, best team marketing and for outstanding industry collaboration.

The competition aims to get students interested in science and

engineering careers through the task: to design, manufacture, market and race a model Formula 1 car.

Michael Chan, 14, was the team’s graphic designer.

“It’s a big project with many different aspects to it,” he said.

“The hard work really does pay off, to see our pit display look so pretty — and we have a car we can actually race.

“It’s a great learning experience with long-term and short-term skills you can bring into the future as well.”

The shape of the cars is thought out using computer-aided design. They are precision cut from a balsa wood based on the codes programmed into a machine.

Laura Bocks, 14, was the team’s manufacturing engineer.

“You learn teamwork first and foremost,” she said.

“You really bond as a team, get to know each other and have fun working together.”

Year 9 team Red Piston also competed.

Sravanti Garikipati, 14, said they merged ideas from NASA’s aerodynamics division to improve their design.

“You’re first hand with all of the industry people, the engineers and designers and biomechanical engineers. You’re really humbled to talk to them and they’re really willing to help you.

“The highlight is watching it all come together and seeing your car race. I’ve made so many new friends over the past two days, it’s unbelievable. All of these people are willing to help you, they give you so much advice.”

Girraween High has entered the challenge for the past two years and was the first to reach the national finals in their first year of competition.

Teachers David Di Ienno and Carmine Albanese run the program.

Mr Albanese said students had four weeks between the regional and state finals to redesign and manufacture a car.

“They get scrutinised in every category,” he said.

“There’s a lot of pressure. The real-life experience they’ve got from this is excellent.”

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