Scalextric4Schools racing

Scalextric4Schools design challenge returns for kids aged 11 – 14

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Scalextric4Schools, the accessible design and engineering competition for kids aged between 11- and 14-years-old, has returned to action, with a 2025 competition soon to follow.

Teams design, test and build a small car to be raced on toy-maker Hornby’s Scalextric tracks, encouraging students to consider the form, functional elements and aesthetics of the cars, while also racing them fast!

With the original program having ended during the pandemic, a test event was brought back on 17 June 2024, with 24 teams from schools around the UK racing their creations at Silverstone Museum.

Scalextric4Schools presenting to judges
The Track Monarch’s team from The Henry Beaufort School, Hampshire, present their designs to the judges

Teams prepped their cars and slowly started to set lap times, while the judging of presentations saw entrants quizzed on their use of software and manufacturing to build the cars.

Judges also looked for design innovations, like the four-wheel-drive system developed by the team from Bryanston School, Dorset, and the single seater concept from Nottingham High School, Nottinghamshire, which picked-up the best design car prize.

Teams were not limited by software. OnShape and Creo have a historical link to the competition, with PTC continuing to provide support to the event. Yet Solidworks, TinkerCAD, and Autodesk Fusion were all represented, demonstrating the breadth of CAD being currently used in schools.

Drivers mastered the track and the pit crews tuned the cars for maximum performance adding weight in different spots to ensure better grip or traction, prepping tyres, and gears and motors meshing cleaner as the cars were shaken down and run-in. All this saw the lap times fall and the completion hotting up. Once the last car crossed the line and the checked flag fell the judges scores were added together and the winners were announced.

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The overall winner of Scalextric4Schools 2024 was  The Henry Beaufort School, Hampshire; while six other prizes were awarded, including Best Engineered Car (Royal Grammar School Newcastle, Northumbria) and Fastest Car (The Bishops Blue Coat High School, Cheshire)

“In the aftermath of the pandemic, I felt a desire to try once more to bring the competition back as I recognised that many students had missed out on so much over the last few years,” said Simon Hooker, the Scaletxric4Schools race director and head of D&T and Art at The Bishops Blue Coat High School, Chester.

“Scalextric4Schools gives youngsters an opportunity to get involved in the world of design, manufacture and innovation so that they might be inspired to purse it as a career.”

With schools around the country now having better access to modern design, optimisation, 3D printing and workshops, an accessible competition in which teams can bring this together in a competitive environment ‘fully embraces STEM’, he added.

“The processes that the teams have undertaken perfectly mirrors the way Hornby design their products, but lets remember: the majority of the designers taking part are aged between 11- and 14-years-old, In our eyes all of the teams that took part are winners and, if nurtured, the next generation of designers and engineers is in safe hands.”

The competition has been relaunched with the help of Hornby, The Design and Technology Association and sponsors Boxford, suppliers of  manufacturing systems to education and industry; and  PDSVison UK (formally Root Solutions), a PTC, Ansys and Keyshot reseller.

“Through Scalextric4Schools PDSVision UK hopes to encourage and support school-age children to study D&T, to take it on into further education and become tomorrow’s engineers and innovators. This is important because of the skills shortage in this sector,” said Roger French, PDS Vision head of strategic programmes UK. “It is encouraging youngsters into our sector and helps them realise that it is a cool sector to work in!”

Registration for 2025 will open in September 2024 and more info on how to enter teams can be found here.

Hornby Hobbies’ model design strategy