Pupils from Parkstone Grammar School in Poole have taken part in the final of the Greenpower scheme, which was held at the world-famous Goodwood Motor Circuit, with the help of sponsorship from local integrated security solutions manufacturer TDSi and technical assistance from engineers at Siemens in
Poole. The school put forward two batterypowered vehicle entries; ‘Speedwell’ and ‘Titan’ which were built by all-female teams from the school.
Competitors raced against international teams from around the world (including the USA and South Africa) to prove their mettle and the superiority of their designs and race strategies. TDSi became involved and sponsored the ‘Speedwell’ team due to the involvement of Rachel Little, the daughter of Greg Little, Sales Support and Estimator at the company.
Greg, who was an avid spectator at the final commented, “The teams worked tirelessly together and a lot of hard work went into ensuring both cars performed well in the event. Speedwell finished in 30th place and Titan in 44th place. These results place them in the top 15% and top 20% in the world respectively for this sport. This is a fantastic result, especially considering both cars were built from scratch in just 26 weeks and with a very high input from the girls.”
Greg added, “It really is a remarkable achievement by all the girls and TDSi is delighted to have been able to support their efforts. The team is also very grateful for the many hours of volunteered expert technical assistance from the generous engineers at Siemens in Poole.”
The event is overseen by Greenpower, which issues a strict one design sealed electric motor and a set of batteries to each of the competing teams. Along with a strong set of building regulations, this ensures a level playing field and keeps the costs to affordable levels, as well as ensuring the safety of participants.
The teams compete in a number of regional qualifying events to set their best performance, and the top 80 teams qualify for the final. The Parkstone Grammar School teams competed at qualifying events at the Goodwood Motor Circuit, RNAS Merryfield, Castle Combe Circuit and the Dunsfold Aerodrome, where the BBC films Top Gear.
The races take on a timed pursuit format similar to the famous Le Mans 24-hour event. The competing cars have a set time to do as many laps (in miles) as possible within the allotted time period. A successful strategy looks to find a trade-off between speed and longevity to complete the greatest distance.
On the day, the rain came down quite heavily towards the end of the second race, and some of the cars had trouble staying on the track. Greg commented, “The Parkstone Grammar School team drivers, Sophie and Katie, both managed to do a pirouette turn on ‘Shell Corner’ resulting in a mandatory pit stop, which limited their mileage, but fortunately both girls were fine.”