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Last Updated: Tuesday January 17 2006 08:40 GMT

We built a mini Formula One car!

Press Packer Declan

Press Packer Declan and four of his friends entered a competition to design a mini Formula One car. The aim was to build the fastest car they could.

They won the F1 in Schools regional and national events and recently took their speedy motor along to the world championships.

"To take part in the competition we had to design two cars. We also had to put together a portfolio and present our ideas to the judges.

Little cars, lots of speed!

The cars are a bit longer than the length of your hand and about as tall as the height of your thumb.

The race takes place on a 20 metre track. There's a C02 canister on the back of the car that propels it forward.

They go really fast - about 40-50 miles an hour!

Virtual wind tunnels

When we were doing the designs we had to think about things like aerodynamics, weight and friction.

Once we had a design we tested it in a virtual wind tunnel. It's great because it shows you where all the pressure points are so you can redesign the car before you even build it.

A different piece of software actually carves the design out of balsa wood, which is amazing.

Once we had the 3D model we had to prime and sand the wood. Then we painted it white and added the logo.

We learnt how to use all the new software as we went along. It takes a wee while but it's easy enough to pick up.

Team dynamics

Declan (second from the left) and the rest of Team Hurricane Three
Declan (second from the left) and the rest of Team Hurricane Three

There were five people in our team and we each had a specific job to do.

I was the team manager. I had to make sure everything was organised. I didn't need to do too much though because everyone just sat down and did the job!

Each person bought a variety of skills - drawing, sanding, painting, research and presentation. It all gelled together and created a great team.

I really enjoyed the designing and I'd like to go into aeronautical engineering or maybe automotive engineering when I'm older.

The world championships

It was great to be at the world championships. It was brilliant meeting all the other teams - everyone was really nice and it was good chatting to people about our design.

Our car was the third fastest mini Formula One car in the world. We also won second for our verbal presentation and fifth overall. We're really pleased!

I think we did so well because the our car's aerodynamics were really great.

We've qualified for the world championships again. Next year they'll take place in Rolando, Florida. It would be amazing if we could go!"

Declan, 15, County Antrim


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