Article - Issue 11, February 2002

Best supports Jaguar Formula One in schools at Olympia

David Ford

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The Best programme joined with the Jaguar Formula One Team in Schools Cad Cam Challenge to support its first National Championship which was held at the BETT Exhibition at Olympia on 9 January 2002.

Jaguar Formula One in Schools is all about designing, building and racing a carbon dioxide powered balsa wood dragster. Schools are able to buy a pack which contains all of the parts required, including the CAD/CAM software package used for designing the racer. Initiated in the USA, the scheme was brought to the UK last year by Andrew Denford, Managing Director of Denford Ltd, who manufacture and distribute computerised milling machines, lathes, routers and related control software products. All aspects of design are investigated, including shape, aerodynamics and weight distribution. Once the design is complete, the balsa wood body is shaped from the individual school’s design software file using one of Denford’s CNC Microrouters. Jaguar is the main sponsor of the scheme, with further support from the Campaign to Promote Engineering, EMTA and BAE Systems.

The intention with the project is to interest youngsters in engineering as a career. For this reason, because the project is so closely aligned to the aims of the Best programme, The Academy has supported the first ever National Championship to add its endorsement and support to the overall success of the scheme. Throughout 2001 a number of regional events were organised in the UK, and the National Championship was the culmination of this process to find the best overall team.

A massive space was allocated by the organisers of the BETT Exhibition at Olympia to contain all of the competitors, the two-lane track for the racing and other exhibits. Large though the space was, it was soon taken up with the 30 teams from all over the UK who all needed ‘pit space’ to service their cars and to make their official presentations to the judges.

Amongst the other exhibits was the University of Hertfordshire Formula Student Team headed by Alan Combes (resplendent in his Best team shirt), Head of the Automotive Engineering Department. Formula Student, administered by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, enables undergraduates to design and build a ‘proper’ formula-type racing car powered by a Honda motorcycle engine. The cars are very sophisticated and probe the most modern concepts in racing car design – many graduates involved in this UK wide programme find positions with racing and rallying teams at the cutting edge of racing car design and manufacture. It was doubly satisfying to see this team on display as The Royal Academy of Engineering awarded them a travel grant to attend an international event in Australia in December 2001, at which the team acquitted itself admirably. Formula Student can also be seen as the point at which to aim for the youngsters presently involved in Jaguar Formula One in Schools.

Winners

Winners of the categories were:

Overall Winner in each Age Group –

11–14: Yewlands School, Sheffield.

14–16: Ramsey Abbey School, Huntingdon, Cambridge.

16–18: John Willmott School, Sutton Coldfield.

The award for Fastest Overall Car (presented by Martin Temple of the Engineering Employers Federation): Archbishop Temple School, Preston (14–16, KS4 Team).

The award for Best Engineered Car (presented by Mike Brown of Parametric Technology Corporation): George Abbot School, Guildford, Surrey (16–18, KS5 Team).

The Overall Winners of the Challenge: 3rd place went to South Holderness School, Hull; 2nd was George Abbot School (16–18 KS5); and 1st place went to Archbishop Temple School, Preston.

The business of the day was concluded with The Royal Academy of Engineering Best Prizegiving Reception at which a speech of welcome was given by Dr John Forrest FREng. A number of distinguished guests and fellowpromoters of engineering attended the reception and the whole day was considered to be a great success, auguring well for the popularity of Jaguar Formula One in Schools in coming years.

The Royal Academy of Engineering Best programme is presently in the process of discussing the formation of ongoing relationships with Jaguar Formula One in Schools and Formula Student. These are just the types of vehicle required to promote the engineering profession to the widest range of potential future engineers. The promotion of Best is now progressing at quite a pace and relationships with initiatives such as these in all sectors of engineering are a priority. If any readers know of such schemes in other disciplines, of which The Academy may not be aware, please contact Best as soon as possible!

Best Newsdesk

The Academy Best programme is very pleased to acknowledge its new partnerships with BAE Systems’ Sigma Programme and with Thames Water. Both of these partnerships signify the success of the new strategy in involving companies, seen to be leaders in their specific sectors, with the Best programme. The partnerships are for medium to long term relationships with these companies, and offer the opportunity for beneficial mutual links and development programmes to be initiated.

There will be more news on the way in which Best is working with its partners to develop and promote the overall Best programme in future editions of Ingenia. For more information contact David Ford, Best Promotion Manager on 020 7220 0542.

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