*Photo by Don Burgess
*Photo by Don Burgess

Cheers went up as Joseph Pacheco proved he was a monster on the track. His black and lime-green Formula One-inspired car won the first-ever student competition sponsored by Saltus’ Design Technology Department.

Saltus is scheduled to take part in the Formula One Schools Challenge next year in a yet-to-be named location. They will compete against schools from 40 other countries for world bragging rights. The challenge uses some of the same principles, including the team concept with a multiple of roles, including a team manager, engineering director, marketing manager, and graphic designer.  

Students have designed prototypes in a variety of styles from “fun custom cars” to more serious cars, which are engineered for speed. On Wednesday, the cars were tested and raced on an 80ft track with speeds up to 70mph propelled by a small CO2 canister.

Teacher Phillip Heap, head of Design Technology at Saltus, told the Bermuda Sun it took six months for the 80-foot track to come in from the UK so that once the cars were designed, the students would have some place to race them.

“The kids have been working on the car gear for about eight weeks. We trialled it with SGY2 students as an end-of-the year project for them, but going forward we’re going to a younger age group of 14- to 15-year-olds. Normally it will take them about a year to complete the project because there are many roles where they have to become design engineers, marketing managers, team managers. They have to raise about $30,000 in order to send a team over to the World Championships.”

Mr Heap said “it was absolutely amazing” watching the students become deeply involved with the project.

“This morning we brought in some 11-year-olds and 12-year-olds, who are going to be our future designers and engineers, to watch and they were enthralled and they all want to sign up.

“For me, there is immense pride in the work that has been done and great satisfaction that there are going to be students who want to have careers in engineering.”

Student Kathryn O’Connor had her car in the finals to see who was the fastest. She said what she learned most “was how to design in a short amount of time. It took me under two weeks to design my car.”

Her design was based on a tiger because it is her favourite animal.

“At first, I didn’t know what I was going to do, but then I thought about it and felt like it suited me more than other designs.”

Joseph Pacheco proved to have the fastest car but said this "was a lot of fun and very entertaining. It was quite interesting learning about the aerodynamics, the design, how wind resistance can be manipulated".

Mr Pacheco said he based his design on a Formula One car with a Monster Energy drink colour-scheme.

He said having the fastest student car “made me very proud of what I designed”.

One of the take-ways he will have from this project is time management “because we didn’t have a lot of time to design these.