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February 2009 \\ Next article \\ Back to current issue index

Re-Engineering Australia Forum (REA) - F1inSchools Challenge

Pictured with Warren King, General Manager Systems, DMO (far left), the 2008 Australian Champions and representing Australia at the World Titles in London in September 2009, Redline Racing from Trinity College, Canberra: (L-R):  Alistair Smith, James Mazengarb, Dan Boucher, Annie Harper, Graham Hutton (Teacher) and Chris Law (kneeling).

The Defence Material Organisation (DMO), through a three year sponsorship arrangement with the Re-Engineering Australia Forum (REA), is providing a group of high school students from Canberra and Sydney with the chance of a lifetime - to represent Australia at a global technology competition in the United Kingdom later this year.

The DMO sponsorship is helping school students involved in the F1inSchools Technology Challenge - an REA initiative - to take on student teams from more than 20 nations with their miniature gas-powered 80 km/h F1 racers.

The F1inSchools Challenge is part of a high-end technology competition involving more than six million high school students around the world, and more than 30,000 12 to 17 year old school students across Australia.

This year, Team Australia includes Redline Racing, from Trinity Christian College in Canberra, and Biohazard, from Menai High School in Sydney’s south.

Each year, participating Australian school students form teams who then design, test and manufacture their futuristic cars using space age technology. Some of the technology – the 3D computer aided design package known as CATIA – is the same as that used by defence equipment engineers and manufacturers on projects such as the ANZAC Class Frigate Upgrade; Huon Class Minehunter; M113 upgrade; ARH Tiger and MRH Helicopters; and the Joint Strike Fighter.

In addition to learning CATIA, the teams learn to use Virtual Wind Tunnel software, design an F1 car of the future, test its aerodynamics, learn how to manufacture it, understand engineering formulae, collaborate with industry, produce comprehensive technical portfolios that are examined by professional engineers, and explain their findings in verbal presentations to the competition judges.

This holistic approach goes well beyond racing a fast car. The cars are simply a means of attracting the school students’ interest in engineering and science subjects.  The F1inSchools Technology Challenge encourages young Australians to consider a technical career path, and to apply maths and science in a way - that to them – is exciting and relevant.

In 2008, high school students from regional and metropolitan centres around the country fiercely competed the State Championship titles, and for the opportunity to represent their State at the National Championship in Canberra in late November.
More than 110 high school students - the State Champions from across Australia - travelled to Canberra to contest the National Titles in a challenging competition that included verbal presentations; engineering scrutineering; assessment of portfolio, exhibition and marketing displays; and a hard-fought campaign of time-trial racing their Formula 1 model cars – the end product manufactured to the teams’ engineering design specifications.

The cars, ripping down purpose-built tracks at more than 80 km/h, were the tangible and demonstrable proof of the outstanding achievements of its team members.

On the night of 26 November 2008, those miniature speedsters raced again at the Awards Ceremony in the Great Hall of Parliament House, where several Federal politicians pitted their racing skills against the students.

Redline Racing and Biohazard are now preparing for the trip to London in September where they aim to secure the coveted World Championship title.   If they succeed, they will emulate the result of the Australian team who won the World Championship in 2006, and will go one better than last year’s Australian challengers who finished second and third outright.

The World Champions receive UK university scholarships worth $1.5 million, and the prized crystal Bernie Ecclestone Trophy.

DMO is pleased and proud to support REA, and by doing so, provide young Australians with the opportunity to explore, while still at school, the potential for a future career in an engineering, project management or manufacturing sector.

2008 Victorian State Champions, the High Speed Cheetahs from Laverton Secondary College

2008 Victorian State Champions, the High Speed Cheetahs from Laverton Secondary College  (L-R):  Willard Dacion, Sandon Stuart, Stephanie Nguyen, Rohlupui Rahtin, Hiep Phan, and their teacher, Mr Michael Germano

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