A team of Blue Mountains Grammar students are racing to national finals after becoming state champions in the F1 in Schools competition.
One of the world's largest high school science and technology competitions, students are challenged to design and race cars capable of travelling at 110km/hr.
The Thrust Vector team consists of year 9 students Zach Burgess, Matthew Foster, Finley Hastie, Nicholas Hayes and Mirah Larkin who joined after the state final.
They spent months designing their car, building and testing it.
“It was designed based around the regulations and to have as little drag as possible and the least amount of resistance,” said Nicholas, the design engineer.
The car was made out of balsa wood and plastic and painted. It weighs just 50 grams and completed the 20-metre track in just 1.185 seconds.
“It needs to be light to accelerate as fast as possible,” Nicholas said.
“The top speed of the car is 100 to 110km/hr”.
A huge amount of team effort went into the research and design phase of the project. The team specifically incorporated design techniques such as including airflow channels, a tapered rear of the car, and the front wing support structure to make it as fast as possible.
At the state finals earlier this month Thrust Vector achieved Best CAD (computer aided design) Engineered Car, Best Team Portfolio, and were first overall, earning the title of NSW State Champions.
They are excited to see what challenge awaits at the national finals in Queensland in March.
“We are mostly expecting some tough competition,” Zach said. “We have seen what the NSW teams can do. We only just snuck past them to take the competition.”
They plan to refine their project management and manufacturing, tweak the design of the car, and design a new trade display in preparation for the national finals.
And it's not just about how fast the car can go.
The design, team logo, marketing and the team’s verbal presentation was all taken into account when awarding the state champion.
“We are so proud and so honoured that we have been given this opportunity and we want to take it as far aw we can and hopefully represent Australia,” Zach said.
And even the team name has a purpose.
They intend the car to ‘Thrust’ past all the others, and how as a team they thrust past the rest, to victory. ‘Vector’ stands for the direction they intend going in, and how they want to go all the way.