Viridity, a team of young engineers from Newstead Wood School in Orpington, Kent are taking part in our High Performance festival this weekend. This guest blog post has been written by the Viridity team.
We are Viridity, a team of young aspiring engineers from Newstead Wood School in Orpington, Kent. We have entered into the Greenpower Challenge, a competition for students with an interest in engineering. The challenge for participating teams is to design, build and race an electric car, in competition with other schools from all over the UK.
Our team is made up of students from years 10 to 12 (ages 14 to 17) with several team members currently studying for the Engineering Diploma. The team is supported by our link engineer, Peter Fagg, a mechanical engineer from National Rail. Through his support, Peter has encouraged many students at Newstead to get involved with engineering.
Various Greenpower race categories exist, each open to different age groups. We have opted to race in the Formula 24 category, which is open to students between the ages of 11 and 16. Formula 24 races are endurance races lasting four hours and require a minimum of five drivers. We are one of only two all-girl Formula 24 teams in the UK.
Heats take place at major motorsport venues around the country, with the best teams qualifying for the national final held in October each year at the Goodwood Motor Circuit. To date our car has raced at Bedford Autodrome, Castle Combe circuit, Dunsfold Park (home of the Top Gear test track) and Goodwood Motor Circuit.
Our first year of participating in the Greenpower Challenge was in 2011. At that year’s Formula 24 national final, we finished 19th out of a field of 75 cars – 179 teams nationally – and succeeded in attaining the “best newcomer” award.
Last year, we once again qualified for the national final, but suffered a punctured tyre which set us back in the race and resulted in our team finishing 47th. Such is the nature of motorsport.
Our aim this year is to make modifications to our existing car to improve its performance. If we are able to raise sufficient funding, we also hope to build a new car for entry into the Formula 24+ category of races.
Since its inception, our team has been reliant upon obtaining the support and sponsorship of local companies. As an example, Stephen James BMW, Ruxley have provided welding services for our team as our school lacks welding facilities. Other companies, such as RP Martin Brokers have generously supported us financially. For more information on our on our project, or to offer support, please click here.