Friday 15 December 2017

'The magic formula'

Some of the innovative racing machines.
Some of the innovative racing machines.

A TEAM of aspiring Formula 1 racing car designers and engineers from Balbriggan Community College, has made it through to the national finals of an international competition aimed at uncovering new talent for the F1 teams of the future.

Back in October of last year a group of second year students from Balbriggan Community College were selected to represent the school in the F1 in Schools competition as part of the Advanced Learning Programme (ALP) within the Balbriggan school.

The students who took part were Liam Kavanagh, Kacper Kencler, Dylan Tucker and Gary Tiscovschi, who formed a team to compete in the 'F1 in Schools' programme – an international competition for school children (aged 9-19), in which groups of students have to design and manufacture a miniature car out of balsa wood using CAD/CAM design tools.

The cars are powered by CO2 cartridges and are attached to a track by a nylon wire and each team is judged on different criteria including car speed, design portfolio, verbal presentation and pit display.

The 2013 world finals took place in Austin, Texas and this year's host is Abu Dhabi and Ireland will be represented by one national champion.

After deciding to enter the competition, the four lads had to first qualify for regional finals. The team had to prepare a five-page document outlining some key features such as planning, design inspiration and of course team identity.

From this Marine Racing was born. Within a few weeks the team received the good news that they had successfully qualified for the eastern regional finals, which took place recently.

As with any type of racing team preparation was vital. So as to ensure all duties were carried to a high standard each team member was given a specific role. Liam Kavanagh was named as team manager, Kacper Kencler was the design engineer, Dylan Tucker took the role of manufacturing engineer and finally, Gary Tiscovschi took on the job of marketing manager. With the car designed in January the drawing was sent to Blanchardstown IT for manufacture of the physical car out of the incredibly light Balsa wood.

A pit display was made and painted in the woodwork room while local generous businesses were approached for sponsorship.

The portfolio was also put together as the big day approached. Kind sponsorship from McFaddens and Cate's Café meant the team could also now afford to get a team uniform and posters for their pit display.

And so with all the hard work and detailed preparation complete Marine Racing travelled to Griffith College for the eastern regional finals.

Marine Racing were to compete against Team Ellipse on the 80-foot straight line track. The cars were raced four times and Marine Racing won all four of their races.

Finally, in the evening, the team were called to a separate interview room to present their project. Again the lads spoke confidently and impressed yet another set of judges. To complete the day all 20 teams present gathered together for the awards ceremony. This ceremony was split into two categories, the senior and junior teams. The first award of the day was for the fastest car in the junior category. To the great delighted of all team members it was Marine Racing who had designed and produced the quickest car shape.

Later in the ceremony the team's joy was increased as they were named as one of four qualifiers to the national finals on May 2 at Dublin Castle.

Fingal Independent

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