Renee Pilcher

Nash model car team on track

WHEN Bathurst fires up this weekend, young eyes will be glued to the screen.

And among those engrossed in the action may be the future stars of the iconic Australian race.

With motorsport an Australian obsession, a program helping to develop interest by younger generations in motorsports is the REA F1 Schools Challenge.

It's a challenge James Nash State High School has seized with both hands. The school recently won a regional competition and has qualified for a state showdown.

Members of the James Nash Vipers team include Brendan Grady, Max Bentel and Kelsie Hughes.

The challenge is described by the F1 in School Technology Challenge website as “an exciting and rewarding program aimed at school students around Australia.”

Students form teams, with the assistance of engineering and science departments of their schools, to develop model Formula 1 cars that are raced.

The cars are produced from concept to design and the science is rigorously tested.

The smallest of engineering ingenuity can carry big consequences. “It's a bit trial and error and learning from your mistakes,” Hughes said.

“We designed the cars using CAD (engineering software) and then had to test them.”

The program is global and in Australia more than 250 schools are taking part.

James Nash's team will travel to Toowoomba this weekend for the state titles after taking out the regional at Noosa back last month.

The winning time at Noosa was 1.063 seconds on a 20-metre track.

“We hope to get that down a bit, and it's looking good,” Hughes said.

A major stumbling block for the Gympie team has been achieving the perfect weight for the model car. But Hughes says those problems were overcome with some experimentation.

Should the team do well at Toowoomba, the nationals loom and, beyond that, a chance to compete on the international stage.

The standard is high with the world record breaking the one-second mark at 0.98 seconds.

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