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Students vie for Bernie Ecclestone trophy
It is not only McLaren, Ferrari, Renault and their rival F1 teams that are heading to Melbourne to race their Formula One cars. Two American student teams: ‘Team Turbo’, from Bloomsburg Area High School and ‘Team Inferno’, from Breckinridge Middle School, Roanoke, Virginia will represent the USA, fighting for the Bernie Ecclestone Trophy and the title of F1 in Schools World Champions at the event to be held during the F1 Grand Prix week, at the Telstra Dome and the F1 Experience, Albert Park, in the city of Melbourne, Australia. ‘Team Hybrid’, from East Cobb Middle School, Marietta, Georgia is a team which has collaborated with a UK school for this event and will be a joint USA/Scotland entrant.

Twelve countries: Australia, Germany, USA, Canada, Kuwait, Malaysia, South Africa, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Singapore will be lining up on the grid of this innovative educational initiative, all racing for glory, which brings with it the Bernie Ecclestone Trophy and coveted Automotive Engineering scholarships to The City University, London, UK, for each member of the winning team.

The focus of the event is the time trials, with the teams racing their own car on a specially designed 20 meter track to test the speed of each F1 model. Powered by CO2, the cars are fired down the track at a scale speed equivalent to over 220 mph. With the world record standing at just over one second, it’s fast and furious action on the race track for these engineering protégés.

The World Championship action takes place at the Telstra Dome, Melbourne, Australia, from 13-14 March, and at the F1 Experience, within Albert Park, during the F1 Grand Prix week, with the final time trials on 15 and 16 March. The F1 in Schools World Champions will be crowned on the evening of 16 March at the Sebel Albert Park Hotel and all the competitors will then be treated to a weekend at the Australian Grand Prix.

This unique student challenge in which schoolchildren aged 11 to 18 use CAD/CAM software to design, build and test a model CO2-powered balsa wood F1 car of the future takes place in 22 countries around the world, with an estimated 6 million school children competing for the title.

Andrew Denford, Founder, F1 in Schools, says of the World Championships, “The third annual F1 in School World Championships will be bigger and better than our previous two, as the initiative grows and more nations and teams become involved. Schools see the value of incorporating the Challenge into their extra-curricular offerings first hand, with the students quickly becoming immersed in the F1 in Schools activities, and enjoying learning through practical application.

“The association with Formula One motor racing brings engineering to life for the students and with this year’s World Championship being held during the Australian Grand Prix, they will also be able to experience the glamour, excitement and drama of the pinnacle of motorsport. I know that all the teams are highly competitive and there is tremendous pressure for national glory, as well as the coveted scholarship prize.”

Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of Formula One Management gave his support to F1 in Schools by granting the challenge a world-wide protected trademark and a new logo in 2005. Since this time the initiative has built close links with teams and personalities within Formula One.

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