A team of students from Elizabethtown Area Middle School in Elizabethtown, Pa., produced a winning racecar at this week's USA F1 in Schools National Finals, held in association with SAE International. The "Ninjas" team developed a scale-model Formula 1 car of the future which proved to be the best designed, as well as fastest on the track, and their efforts have won the students a place in the 2011 F1 in Schools World Finals which will take place later this year in Malaysia.
Team Raptor from East Cobb Middle School in Marietta, Ga., finished in second place, and took the award for the Best Use of SolidWorks, and these students will also be heading to the World Finals. Team Volt from Lord Botetourt High School in Virginia took third place.
With two days of competition at the USA F1 in Schools National Finals, more than 50 students in 12 teams, from six states traveled to Michigan International Speedway for the event which ran in conjunction with the Formula SAE event.
The winning team of Ninja's is three middle school students, each with specific roles. Garrett Jenkins is Team Manager and Team Resource Manager; Kalyssa Pottgeiser is the Design Engineer and Graphic Designer and Brian McMinn takes on the roles of Design Engineer and Manufacturing Engineer.
“This is really amazing,” said a surprised Garrett Jenkins, the 12-year-old team manager for the winning Ninja's team. “This competition taught me a lot about teamwork and new ideas for designs.” His teammate Brian McMinn looks to the future and reflects, “I was thinking about becoming an aerospace engineer and now I am seriously considering it after this experience.”
Andrew Denford, Founder and Chairman of F1 in Schools and Director of Communications and Events, Dave Howes, made the trip from the UK. Denford said of the USA National Finals, “Congratulations to Ninja's for winning the USA F1 in Schools 2011 title against some very strong competition. This is a great accolade and they should be very proud of their achievements. Ninja's and Team Raptor can now take the next step and represent the USA at the World Finals in Malaysia. These teams know that they have the potential to win at this level too, as the current World Champions, Unitus Racing, were National Champions from USA last year.
“Our thanks go to SAE International for hosting an excellent National Finals and welcoming the teams to Michigan International Speedway alongside the Formula SAE event. They have been very supportive and embraced the F1 in Schools program, so I am sure with their help we will see it continue to grow and flourish.”
Five other student teams took home trophies, including Team Dynamite from Ohio who won the Best Team Sponsorship and Marketing; Pirate Racing from Florida who took Best Verbal Presentation; PA Hardcore from Pennsylvania wowed the judges with their written presentation to win the Best Portfolio Award; Nova Racing from PSJA North in Texas took the judges vote for the Best Team Identity and Team Viper Strike from Indian Lake High School showed their design flair with the award for Best Engineered Car.
F1 in Schools aims to help change perceptions of engineering, science and technology by creating a fun and exciting learning environment for young people to develop an informed view about careers in Mathematics, Engineering, Science and Technology. Students are given a brief to design a model compressed powered F1 Car of the future using CAD/CAM. Cars are then manufactured on a CNC machine. Each team of between three and six students, brings together their work to present to a judging panel with a verbal and written presentation to support their model car, which is raced on a specially designed test track.
At the National Finals each team brought along a pit display, their cars and portfolio, as well as giving the judges a verbal presentation on their racecar program. The cars raced on an 80 foot track, covering the distance in just over one second, a speed barrier which is yet to be broken by any student team since it was set by Team FUGA from Northern Ireland at the 2007 World Finals.
The USA F1 in Schools National Finals took place with the assistance of a host of sponsors and supporters including SAE International, Pitsco, Solidworks and Denford Limited.
2011 USA NATIONAL FINALS AWARD WINNERS
USA National Champions 2011 sponsored by SAE International Ninja's – Elizabethtown Area Middle School, Pennsylvania
Second Place sponsored by Formula SAE – Team Raptor, East Cobb Middle School, Georgia
Third Place sponsored by F1 in Schools – Team Volt, Lord Botetourt High School, Virginia
Best Engineered Car sponsored by Daimler-Detroit Diesel Viper Strike – Indian Lake High State, Ohio
Fastest F1 Car sponsored by Michigan International Speedway Ninja's – Elizabethtown Area Middle School, Pennsylvania
Best Team Sponsorship & Marketing sponsored by F1 in Schools Team Dynamite – St. Joseph's Academy, Ohio
Best Team Identity sponsored by Pitsco - Nova Racing, PSJA North, Texas
Best Portfolio sponsored by F1 in Schools - PA Hardcore – Manheim Township School, Pennsylvania
Best Verbal Presentation sponsored by SAE Foundation - Pirate Racing from Florida
Best Use of SolidWorks Software Sponsored by SolidWorks - Team Raptor, East Cobb Middle School, Georgia