A team of five Year 10 students has conquered Western Sydney by winning the premier Professional Senior class of the F1 in Schools competition. In only their first year of competing, the team known as Collision Racing displayed a mix of enthusiasm and engineering prowess which proved popular with the judges and effective on the race track. Members Julia Chabros, Emma Hunter, Julie Lao, Charlotte TooseCutler and Maddison Traynor now qualify for the State Finals where they hope to progress even further.
F1 in Schools is the world’s largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics competition, with over nine million participants spanning 31 nations. The project sees students design and race scale cars capable of travelling at 80km/h. However, this only accounts for around 25% of competition points, with teams also being required to submit design development folios, engineering drawings and deliver verbal presentations to professional engineers.
Design Engineer Julia took a novel approach to the design direction of the car: “The car was inspired by a Roseate Spoonbill, because it’s aerodynamic, majestic and pink!” The girls prepared matching braids and nail polish to showcase their team unity, which was well received.
The innovative car design did not disappoint, racing down the 20m track in just over one second and only 0.03 seconds off the fastest time of the day.
To produce their car, the girls have had to master 3D design software and technologies such as 3D printing and CNC milling. “Manufacturing the car was new and challenging for me but we’ve worked together, had lots of fun and learnt so many new things” said Manufacturing Engineer Julie. The next round of competition, which is being held at the University of Newcastle, introduces more elements for judging, such as team uniforms and pit displays, both of which have already been eagerly planned by the girls.
The rules dictate that teams project manage their trip, raising money to pay for entry fees, accommodation, travel expenses and materials. Marketing manager Charlotte has already raised funds to pay for the project up to this point, but more money will be required to make the trip to Newcastle. “We’ve been really fortunate with fundraising so far and we hope to further our success with sponsorship from local businesses”.
If the team is successful in Newcastle, the National Finals are held as part of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne. Team Manager Maddison: “I cannot describe how proud I am of how well collision racing has collaborated as a team, so early on in the competition. Making it to Melbourne would be such an amazing opportunity that all of us would remember forever. Australia needs to see more women in the field of engineering and I have faith in our team that we will be in Melbourne in no time”.
Teacher Michael Laws is adamant the girls have what it takes to compete at the highest level: “I’ve been fortunate enough to mentor a fantastic team to the National Finals in the past. Many of the outstanding qualities the team developed are already present in these girls; they are so enthusiastic, committed and polished. They are sure to go a long, long way in the competition and in life”.
Whatever the outcome, Collision Racing will make the experience enjoyable. Graphic Designer Emma remarks: “F1 in Schools has been a really fun new experience. I can’t wait to travel to Newcastle with my team of amazing girls”.