Race car to spark kids’ dreams

Gift a winner: Brett Sizeland with the Formula 1 race car given to the Re-Engineering Australia Foundation in Castle Hill. He designed a model F1 car to reach speeds of up to 100km/h, propelled by a soda bulb, while an F1 in Schools participant. Picture: Natalie RobertsWith a McLaren Formula 1 race car as a tangible example of the engineering behind the fastest of vehicles, schools may well race to take part in the Re-Engineering Australia Foundation’s F1 in Schools technology challenge.

The vehicle has been donated to the Castle Hill-based foundation, which aims to get students as young as 10 interested in science, mathematics and engineering.

REA founder Michael Myers said students would take 13 weeks to a year to design, manufacture and market a model Formula 1 car.

“It’s about letting kids touch the most advanced technology and realise they can also design like that,” he said. “We’re a catalyst to get kids interested . . . and the teachers take over and bring the maths and science together.”

This includes complex equations, wind tunnel testing and aerodynamics before students precision cut a 65 millimetre-wide block of balsa wood into a race car.

Dr Myers said about 500,000 Australian students had completed the program since 2002.

Brett Sizeland, who works at Castle Hill, completed the F1 in Schools challenge five times and placed fifth at the Singapore World Championship in 2009.

“We talked to uni students when we were doing the project and they were jealous because they didn’t get to touch it until second or third year at uni and we were doing it in years 8 and 9 at high school,” he said.

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