On Sunday 19th June, a team of Northgate students headed to the Lotus test track at Hethal to race their electric car. Louie, one of the excited team members, tells us about the experience right from the beginning.
‘It all started when we were designing what the car would look like: what colour, what shape should the nose cone be etc. We settled on a sliver outside which had the old plates turned inside out. It looked really cool and we went for the name “silver arrow”.
It came to making the nose cone and we designed it to be made out of foam and to be a quarter-cylinder shape with plastic covering its front curve. This took about 2 sessions and eventually we got it done. We put a big Northgate logo on the front.
Another of our plans consisted of making the chair more comfortable and easier to get in and out. We slotted a block of foam in the back and cut some lines for the seatbelt strap. On the side of the car’s inside we lined it with polystyrene and made sure we didn’t move around while driving.
Testing day – 15th June
After school we went out with the car to test it out with all the driving gear on. We also were testing mine and Ollie’s team radio.
We went round the running track and past the trees and then went back the same way. Everyone got to be either pushed or the driver of the car.
Near the end when the battery was running a bit low, Paige had stopped halfway round her drive. So, we had to push her back up the hill and to the crew!
Me and Ollie stayed behind and were given the task of replacing the battery. We got it in and out fine and screwed everything in and we tested to see if the horn worked.
But then, and I don’t even know how it happened, one of the red wire screws started glowing orange and then caught fire! Luckily Mr Logan put it out fairly quickly and saved it from a lot more harm.
Race Day – 19th June
‘Today we arrived at the Lotus test track and had a look at the track and some of the new Lotus cars. We met Mr Mottley and Mr Logan at our area and had our car scrutinised so that it was ready for the race. We headed out for some pre-race testing to get used to the track. The other cars there were insanely fast, well some of them. For the first race me and Joe were driving. Each driver is only allowed 45 minutes out of the 90 minutes in the race and then you have to pit and change drivers. I was in the second stint and I think the 2nd one is better because you can just breeze past everyone. At one point I was wheel to wheel with a car exiting the pits and we were next to each other round the hairpin. Then at the turn before the straight, the other car braked early and tried going down the inside line, but I had a better exit out the corner and took the position! It really was a great day – we all had a lot of fun.’
A big well done to the team – those who drove in the race and those who helped design and make the care back at school. Also, thank you to Mr Mottley and Mr Logan for giving our students this amazing opportunity. We are please to report that the Northgate team finished a very respectable seventh out of the 23 schools that took part!
You can see a video clip of the team racing round the circuit below.