A group of Transition Year students, from St. Gerald’s College Castlebar, are taking part in the F1 in Schools Challenge, an international competition in over 30 countries, under the team name, West Coast Racers. The team is overseen by their teacher John Bones. This is the fourth year of the competition in Ireland which is organised by the Irish Computer Society and sponsored by Honda with the school’s second year participating in it.
The teams Design and Graphics Engineer, Darren Brogan, seen here designing the teams car and comparing it to an earlier design.
The team are now busy preparing for the Regional Finals to be held in Blanchardstown Institute of Technology in March, after successfully qualifying last November. With just over a month to go, the team’s car is in the process of being manufactured. Darren Brogan, the teams Design and Graphics Engineer together with Micheál Healy, the teams Manufacturing Engineer, made use of the latest in 3D modeling software SolidWorks, which they had to get to grips with at an early stage. "My role in the team is designing the car. I enjoy designing new cars and testing them in our virtual wind tunnel using COSMOS Floworks!" said Darren. The team also had the opportunity to research specific areas relating to car design and to apply these to their car. Several cars were designed, tested and re-modelled before the team were satisfied with their final design. The final design was tested using COSMOS FloWorks to ensure the design was as aerodynamic as possible. These cars are powered by a CO2 cartridge with the body formed from a single block of Balsa wood. They are approximately 25cm in length and are capable of achieving scale speeds of up to 350km/hour.
Keith Derrig, the Team Manager has the task of ensuring all that the jobs assigned to the team members are carried out. “It is a once in a lifetime experience and I am just happy to be a part of it. It allows us to learn new skills, like Business Management and the use of IT and CAD, which we probably wouldn’t have gotten the chance to do if we had not entered F1 in Schools.” The jobs include car design and manufacture, marketing and sponsorship, the latter being the responsibilty of the team’s Marketing and Communications manager, Niall McCormick.
Niall promotes the team via contact with the media and is also responsible for acquiring sponsorship for the team. “We have received sponsorship from local businesses and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for without their support it would simply not be possible to continue through the competition. However, even with the sponsorship we have we still need the support of more businesses. The costs of competing in this competition are simply staggering and in the current economic climate it is even harder to acquire sponsorship.” If you wish to sponsor the team, you can contact them at email@example.com.
The team also launched their website www.westcoastracers.ie earlier this year. Here you can find out more information about the competition and progress of the West Coast Racers team thoughout the competition.