The Advocate



IT’S four subjects crammed into one high-powered new course, according to Ulverstone High School student Peter Henderson.

The F1 in Schools Technology Challenge is giving the 16-year-old and his team of five an exciting insight into the formula one car racing industry.

Students Australia-wide are designing, testing and making miniature F1 cars capable of reaching speeds of 80km/h.

Last year Peter’s team, Ninja Start Racing, competed in Launceston at the state F1 in Schools finals.

In the development class of the competition the team was crowned champion, as well as taking out best engineered design, innovation, best team portfolio and best team pit display categories.

They are now off to Canberra to  compete against 10 other schools on March 14 in the national championships.

“It was a bit unexpected to be honest, just because it was our first year competing and we didn’t really know what we were in for,” Peter said.

The schools program is proving popular, with 50 students from Ulverstone High involved.

“It’s designed to get kids involved in designing a car,” he said.

“You have to use some English skills to write some letters for sponsorships and try and get money to help us get there and back.”

Once designed on computer through the school’s CAD program, a CNC machine is used to “cut out the car”.

“We put a block of balsa wood in the machine and then set the router up so it can get the right co-ordinates and cut it out for us,” Peter said.

The end result is a 200 millimetre long replica of a formula one racing car.

Peter said his car’s design was purely a group idea.

“You’ve got to come up with your own concept based on aerodynamics and you use several virtual wind tunnels,” he said.

“No other subject has different components all in the one thing like this.

“We have to use English, science, mathematics and art as well, it’s good because it incorporates all that into one subject.”

Along their journey Peter said his team had and would be able to speak with racing sponsors to seek advice and ideas.

Numerous Coastal businesses have also helped to fund and shape the team’s car.

“We went to Degree C on Tuesday and they gave us some interesting insights into making our own wheels, so we can manufacture our own wheels this year,” Peter said.

Another 10 schools will compete in the national competition.

“If we win in Canberra we get to go to Abu Dhabi (in the United Arab Emirates) to compete.”

Not only will the car be displayed both on computer and physically, it will also be raced.

“It’s CO2 powered by a little gas canister that goes in the back,” Peter said.

“You get judged on a certain amount of points.”

For more information on the course visit: