Keen engineering students were delighted when a car they built themselves finished in 16th place during the regional heats of a national race.
A team of youngsters from Horndean Technology College made a car, which they called Eco-3, and entered it into the Greenpower Challenge’s regional heats at Goodwood Motor Circuit, near Chichester, on Sunday.
The new car covered 86.4m – a distance the team hopes will now earn them a race place in the final heats of the competition.
The challenge asks schools from all over the country to build their own vehicles and race them against each other.
It is aimed at appealing to budding racing drivers and designed to fire up their love for engineering and electronics in the hope of uncovering the UK’s bright sparks of the future.
Pupils at Horndean used a design and technology classroom as a workshop to build their car after school and during half-term holidays.
The youngsters who took part in the regional heats were Year Seven students Steven Handley and Chris Barker, Year Eight students Arron Gooderham, Ivan Austin, James Ibell, and Kieron Bolt, Year Nine students Harrison Merriman, Harvey Jarman, Abigail Fletcher, and Year 10 students Tim Plummer and Michael Barker.
And their efforts on the day left them the highest finishing school in Hampshire, after they completed the furthest distance in the allotted four hours.
Mark Smith, design and technology teacher at the college, says: ‘It was a lovely day and the car performed really well.
‘The kids loved it. They were a bit unhappy about standing in the rain, but when they got back they appreciated how much fun it was and that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
‘They learn a lot from taking part in the competition too. Obviously they develop their skills in motoring and engineering and they also learn how to work together and develop a sense of dedication.’
The competition is part of the Greenpower Education Trust, which aims to boost the amount of graduates going into engineering and technology sectors.
The Horndean team were competing in the IET Formula 24 series of the trust, which is aimed at those age 11 to 16.
All teams in this category are given the same electric motor and six 12-volt batteries to be used in pairs.
During the race, at least five team members must drive the car and up to six further members can act as pit crew.
Other than the motor and batteries, teams are free to design a car from their own imagination, or build one of Greenpower’s kit cars.
The final will be in October.