The Grand Prix has a new track in Beijing at the Western Academy of Beijing, and Ferarri and McLaren better watch out because WAB’s X2 Racing team are primed for pole position in the F1 in Schools’ world final. In the spirit of fun and corporate social responsibility, the X2 Racing team unveiled a very special circuit at an event for Shunyi Special School yesterday at WAB.
X2 Racing is a team of WAB students who have designed and built their own miniature Formula One car, to participate in the F1 in Schools competition. F1 in Schools is an international competition in which kids design and manufacture small, functional, model racing cars. The kids use computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM) techniques to create miniature cars out of balsa wood, which they then fit with CO2 canisters and race.
This year X2 Racing will represent WAB and China at the competition’s ninth world finals in Austin, Texas, competing against over 250 students from over 40 different countries.
X2 Racing team’s members are: Tjeard van Oort, age 14 from the Netherlands, Irene Min, age 17 from Korea, Colin Zhang, age 18 from Canada, Guo Hao Sun, age 17 from China, Yun Song age 17 from Korea, and Steve Shang, age 18 from China, who graduated last year and will unfortunately be unable to travel to the world finals due to university commitments.
Judging for the competition is split across several categories. The cars are judged on their adherence the model specification rules, and the team is interviewed on their CAD/CAM know-how. The teams are also required to create a 20 page design portfolio (including team identity and project management information, car design and manufacture, and marketing techniques) and pit display. In F1 the pit refers to the team’s headquarters at the track, at finals it refers to a display booth where the team will present all of the information about their project. Each team will make a 10 minute verbal presentation to a panel of judges on their project. Finally the cars get to race on the official 20 meter F1 in Schools competition track
“The aim of the project is to introduce students to engineering in a fun way,” says Sue Edwards, a middle school learning support teacher. Edwards has been supporting the teams marketing and sponsorship initiatives, while Andy Cole, a middle school design technology teacher, has been facilitating the team’s design and manufacturing. The competition gives students a chance to apply science, math, technology and engineering to model racing, and also to gain experience in marketing, project management, and finance.
The project takes real commitment, diligence and perseverance. “The team of six students has been meeting after school and working solidly for a year on it for one afternoon a week,” Edwards explains.
One of the key aspects of the X2 Racing team has been their focus on corporate social responsibility. On the run up to the world finals, they’ve invited several Chinese national schools to come to WAB, look at the program, and most importantly, race some cars.
Students from Shunyi Special School were excited to participate yesterday. Because the balsa wood models are so expensive, when they introduce people to the concept they use plastic cars. Their audience can assemble the cars, fit the CO2 canisters, and then race.
Involving Chinese schools has allowed many more children to get excited about STEM. “In China there are so many schools with large class sizes. They have huge groups of kids doing rote learning, and this has been an exciting hands-on experience for them,” Edwards explains. “The cars are powered by CO2 canisters, you just press a button and they shoot down the long track we’ve constructed.”
Here’s hoping X2 Racing can put the pedal to the metal, burn rubber and zoom past the checkered flag! They’ve already succeeded in giving the students of Shunyi Special School a day to remember.
Photos courtesy of WAB