Sunday drivers: Kids blitzing around Goodwood at over 30mph in self-made machines

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The 75 car start of this year’s Formula 24 Greenpower Final

Yesterday we travelled down to Goodwood motor circuit, a glorious setting for the final of one of the fastest growing engineering projects for schools, colleges and apprentice schemes in the UK – Greenpower Racing.

The annual competition results in the regional winners descending on one of Britain’s most historic racing tracks and going wheel to wheel around the course, having spent the previous year designing, engineering and building their craft.

This is no pram-wheeled, watching paint-dry tootle but the serious business of aerodynamically-calculated body shells, power-use strategies, correct wheel tracking, friction-reducing, proper race cars, complete with pitstops and driver changes.

Formula 24 might not have the speed of F1 (it’s a four-hour endurance race, with compulsory battery and driver swaps), but it has the drama: Chipping Sodbury school’s Rotary Racer snatched win in the 75 car (75!!!) race on the final lap.


Pennthorpe School’s ‘Hornet’ fending off a competitor on Goodwood’s infamous pit straight

The more advanced Formula 24+ category (a 9 round, 90 minute race championship tied at the top of the leader table going into this last race) include apprentice teams from the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, and Peugeot Citroen, as well as privateer teams striving to make their mark before embarking on a career in motorsport.

Major sponsors Siemens (providing schools with free Solid Edge software) and the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) have helped with the expansion of Greenpower, with this year seeing competitors coming from as far afield as Poland, and next year a wildcard entry from Huntsville Alabama travelling over to compete.

Hopefully over the coming year we’ll be getting further involved and covering just how exciting and educational the entire experience is for the competitors, who regardless of where they finished, were all beaming at the chequered flag.

2012 Winners:

Formulal 24: Rotary Racer – Chipping Sodbury School
Formula 24+: iWhoosh – Horsfall Racing

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