The Greenpower Education Trust’s objective is to advance education in the subjects of sustainable engineering and technology to young people. Teams have to compete in at least one regional heat and finish in the top three to automatically qualify for the International Final held in October at Rockingham Motor Speedway.
It was a busy week leading up to the new car’s first race, culminating in a 6.00am start from Eltham College on the Sunday morning.
They arrived at Dunsfold Park, the home of the Top Gear test track in plenty of time with a group of 9 boys ranging from Year 8 through to the Upper Sixth Form students, including Sebastiano Zane, the school’s Head Boy, who has been a stalwart of the club over the last 5 years.
Scrutineering for the race was a tense affair, due to some clever interpretation of the rules which meant that they were unsure if the car would be accepted in its current guise. The chassis is so torsionally rigid due to its aluminium honeycomb structure, a true monocoque, that they decided that the front roll hoop was unnecessary and that the chassis was able to act as one. This meant that although they had calculated that their chassis was over 20 times more rigid than the equivalent roll hoop in that area, they were not strictly compliant. Fortunately, the officials agreed and they passed scrutineering at the first attempt and gained our Log Book, which entitled them to proceed with the race.
The students approached this as a shakedown test, and were running in 26th place out of 41 entrants at the 45 minute mark of race one, but after a few more minutes the car began to slow and eventually stopped, having run out of energy. For safety reasons and due to it being the car’s first run, they decided to run shorter than normal gearing, which meant that the motor was spinning too fast and out of its efficiency band, resulting in the batteries being used too quickly.
They were pleased with the performance however, and very happy that the car ran faultlessly, apart from the obvious, and has given them a very solid base to build upon for the 2018 season.