Our Principal Engineer, Adrian, volunteered at Greenpower’s IET Formula 24 event this weekend. Here he tells us about his experience of the event.

But first a brief background on Greenpower and the IET Formula 24 event.

Greenpower

The Greenpower Education Trust’s objective is to advance education in the subjects of sustainable engineering and technology to young people.

Their mission is to:

  • To change current views about engineering, presenting it as a fascinating, relevant and dynamic career choice for any young person.
  • To demonstrate the importance of engineering, and associated STEM subjects, to solve the problems faced by societies today particularly in the areas of sustainability.
  • To link education, industry and community through inspirational engineering projects.
  • To promote social inclusion through engaging with vulnerable and economically disadvantaged young people.

IET Formula 24 

Competitors are aged between 11 and 16 years old. 

All teams have the same motor and one pair of 12 volt batteries per race. During the race at least three three team members must drive the car, and up to six further members can act as pit crew. Drivers may only drive for one car and for one team and each driver must drive for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Other than the motor and batteries teams are free to design a car from their own imagination, or build one of the fantastic kit cars.

Each heat consists of 2 x 90 minute races, held across the country at various race circuits

On Sunday, I joined a number of volunteers to help out at the local Greenpower Educational Trust event at East Fortune Racing Circuit in East Lothian, Scotland. Like myself most of the volunteers had no previous experience, but the Greenpower team taught us how to scrutineer the vehicles and I helped inspect one vehicle and then I was moved out onto the track to marshal the event.

Armed with my yellow and red flags and a radio, I was left to enjoying watching the cars on circuit under a beautiful sunny sky. Luckily the drivers seemed well behaved and although we had some breakdowns that needed to be recovered there were no crashes – a quiet life as a track marshal indicates that the event was successful!

Although the cars are pretty low tech, it is amazing how much performance the teams can squeeze out of 2 standard 12 volt Lead Acid batteries and a standard electric motor, especially considering that each race lasts 90 minutes and only one pair of batteries is permitted for a single race.

It is always refreshing to see teenagers excited about participating and that was certainly true at this even. The combination of engineering and sport has always had the ability to capture people’s imagination and Greenpower are harnessing that to inspire the next generation of engineers.