Pupils gear up for the race of their lives

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Young pupils are gearing up for the race of their lives.

Year 7 pupils at Norham High School, in North Shields, are putting the final touches to their own Formula 24 electric racing car.

They will be taking to the track on Wednesday among the competitors appearing at the Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire.

The team of five budding engineers are set to race their car – which they have designed themselves – in the national Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) Formula 24 Greenpower 2016 racing challenge, which is supported by partners including Newcastle University, Siemens and Ford.

They will go up against school teams from across the country in the all-day event and their challenge will be to complete two, 90-minute races in their battery-powered car whilst abiding by strict competition rules.

Each team member has been assigned their own key role on the day and all five will get the chance to drive the car, which can travel at around 10 miles per hour.

The pupils, aged between 11 and 12, have been building and modifying their racing car since September in their after-school STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Maths) club.

Their work has involved the application of engineering, maths, physics and chemistry principles to solve problems and modify the vehicle to make it the best it can be.

The aerodynamic silver bonnet and sides of the finished car have been branded with the Norham High School crest and team members have smart blue overalls, sponsored by TyneMet College, to wear on race day.

Pupil Lewis Pearson said: “I have loved every minute of doing this. I’ve learned loads and it has got me really interested in engineering.

“I’m so pleased I got involved and it’s been great putting the car together and testing it. I can’t wait to drive the car at Croft.”

The pupils have been mentored by Michael Burton, head of engineering at TyneMet College, and supported by STEM Learning Manager at Norham High School, Angie Patterson.

Michael has helped the pupils learn about the mechanics of the car, safe use and maintenance of batteries and aerodynamics.

He has also helped the team to test run the car and maximise its battery power for the two 90 minute endurance races they’ll need to complete on race day.

David Baldwin, executive headteacher at Norham High School, said: “Here at Norham, we work hard to offer our pupils opportunities that will stretch, challenge and excite them as well as inspire a passion for learning.

“This has been a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to gain real insight and hand-on experience in the world of engineering and STEM related activities. It has really sparked their interest and imagination and been a great learning experience for them so far.

“These pupils have given up their own time to attend STEM club and the way they have worked together as a team has been brilliant. I have every faith in their ability on race day.”

The race has been organised by the Greenpower Education Trust.