Derby Grammar School is growing its popular racing car programme which is designed to inspire engineers and racing car drivers of the future.
The school currently has its own Formula 24 and 24+ teams which look after their own racing car and take part in the Greenpower racing series at tracks across the country.
Demand for places on the programme means that the school is now looking to build another car and increase the number of students on the teams.
The teams are open to all students from Year 7 through to the Sixth Form. There are currently 10 members of the younger F24 team, for ages 12-15, and four members of the older F24+ team, including one girl.
The initiative was introduced by the school to give students responsibility for every aspect of racing, from design and building to racing and maintenance of their own car.
The F24 team takes part in four to five races a season while there is a minimum of three races for the F24+ team.
At the end of this season both teams qualified to take part in the Greenpower season final at Rockingham where the F24 team finished 50th out of 250 and the F24+ team crossed the line in 20th place out of 32. The F24+ team finished 13th overall in their championship league, out of 79, their highest ever achievement.
Paul Lakritz, head of Design and Technology at Derby Grammar School and Greenpower co-ordinator, said the time was right to grow the racing car programme.
He said: “It has proved so popular that we are now looking to expand. We started with a car that had been donated seven years ago and now we are looking to create places for another six to eight students because it’s proved so popular.
“Students learn so much and it gives them the chance to improve their teamwork and communication skills, it’s also about decision making and they need to be skillful at negotiation; they basically run it and I just observe.”
James Briggs, 14, is a part of the F24 team and has just taken part in his first season.
He said: “I got involved because I’m quite interested in motorsports generally and I’m thinking about engineering as a career option. It’s not all about racing either, there are lots of things you can do if you get involved in the team.”
Fraser Heatlie, 16, is a member of the F24+ team and has been part of the programme for five years.
He said: “Being part of the team is a fantastic experience and I got involved because I am interested in motorsports, not many people I know would get this kind of opportunity.”
The Derby Grammar School programme is supported by a number of sponsors including: Derby Bearings, Twigg, Pentaxia, Pugh-Lewis, JT Services and Croft Engineering, All offer either development facilities, help in the production of parts or funding for the team.