FIVE Phoenix Community College students will fly to Texas to represent Australia at the F1 in Schools World Championships with a car they designed and created.
The Phoenix team consists of media manager Michelle Clark, chief design engineer Dylan Sexton, collaborations co-ordinator Sam Young, development engineer Ben Marshall and graphic designer Casey Shevlin.
Other team members – the manufacturing engineer, team manager and marketing manager – are in Queensland, where the car was manufactured.
After placing third in the national championships in February, the Phoenix group combined with three students from Queensland’s Pine Rivers State High School to compete in the international event.
Called A1 Racing, they will be one of three teams representing Australia.
The car will compete in three races over a 20-metre course, including an automatic start, reaction racing where a team member will start the car with a trigger, and a knock-out round.
Points from the races will be tallied from individual presentations, industry innovations, team appearance, marketing and collaborations.
The Phoenix College car, made of balsa wood, is about 20 centimetres long, six centimetres wide and five centimetres high.
“A cannister of carbon dioxide is put in the back,” Dylan said.
“When the gas is released, it propels the car forward.
“It goes from zero to 80 km/h in about 0.3 seconds, it uses 13g force when it’s launched and minus 29g force when it’s stopped.
“A combination of the gas, wheels, aerodynamics and tether guides all contribute to the speed of the car.”
Dylan said over the coming weeks the team would organise the last pieces, including finalising displays and writing verbal presentations.
Phoenix College reached the world championships in 2010 and 2011, placing fifth both times.
This year is the world championship’s biggest year, with 39 teams entered. The winning team will win scholarships to study at City University in London.
Student Michelle Clark said the whole project was done in their spare time.
“Lunch time doesn’t exist for us any more,” she said.
Deakin University head of engineering Professor Guy Littlefair visited the school yesterday and was impressed with the students’ work.
“We’ve come down to get an update on how they’re all doing and if we can help with anything before they head off,” he said.
“This is as good as anything I’ve seen. I wish them well.”