Sprowston students racing miniature car

Sprowston Community High School Red Set Racing team, Tom Carver, Ryan Clabon and William Mulhall.PHO

Sprowston Community High School Red Set Racing team, Tom Carver, Ryan Clabon and William Mulhall.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Three students from Sprowston Community High School have flown thousands of miles to Austin, Texas to race a miniature Formula 1 car they have designed, tested and manufactured, in the world finals of a technology competition.

Ryan Clabon, Tom Carver and Will Mulhall, all 17, created a 21cm-long scale model from balsa wood incorporating 3D print technology in its front and rear wings, as part of the F1 in Schools challenge.

Their team, Red Set Racing, will be vying with 38 others at the F1 in Schools World Finals 2013, where each car will race on a 20-metre specially designed track, covering the distance in just over one second.

The winners will pick up automotive and motorsport engineering university scholarships to City University London and the prestige of lifting the Bernie Ecclestone World Champions trophy.

Ryan, who is the team manager, said: 'We got our inspiration at the British Grand Prix when we visited Ferrari Scuderia's mobile HQ and we thought, hey, we should aim to create something along similar lines.

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'We've faced a number of challenges over the last six months to get to this stage. Primarily the biggest hurdle was that of the new 2014 F1 in Schools competition regulations.

'Since becoming UK national champions in March, F1 in Schools has released a new set of regulations which effectively meant a complete redesign of what was a very fast car.

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'Although we were very pleased with our original design and how it performed at the national finals, we welcomed the challenge of a complete redesign.'

Tom, who is chief engineer for the team, said he had changed the wheel and axle designs to ensure the team did not fall foul of the judges in Austin.

Graham Parker, the lead teacher for the team, said: 'I am fantastically proud of what the lads have achieved. They have worked so hard, not only to raise the funding and create what is essentially an industrial quality exhibition, but most impressively they have also lobbied the Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable along the way; getting his department to support the F1 in Schools initiative. They are a real credit to the school and an example to young adults around the country that you get out of life what you are prepared to put in; marvellous stuff.'

The team is taking part in Austin after coming through both regional and national finals in the UK. They have taken a pit display, their cars and portfolio to the finals, which run from November 8-13, and will also give a verbal presentation for the judges.

Mr Wavell, the team's main mentor, worked hard with Ryan manufacturing a travel system to not only safely store and transport the equipment needed in Texas, but also to double-up as part of the pit display.

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