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The University of Southampton

Pupils in pole position to learn about motor racing technology

Published: 7 March 2008

Budding young Lewis Hamiltons looking to launch themselves into science and engineering careers, including top-flight motorsport, will battle it out on the race track to qualify in pole position in the second Southampton Schools' Greenpower Challenge next week (10 - 14 March).

Six teams of 12 pupils from local schools in Southampton, Eastleigh and New Milton will design, build and test an electric Formula 24 racing car supervised by University of Southampton undergraduate mentors. They will then compete against each other in time trials and a slalom race at the Mountbatten Centre, Portsmouth over three days. The top team from each school will go head-to-head in the final event to determine the overall winning team.

The event takes place over four days between 10 and 14 March as part of the University of Southampton's National Science and Engineering Week activities with teams competing as follows:

Monday 10 March: The Sholing Technology College v Bellemoor School
Tuesday 11 March: St Anne's Catholic School v The Arnewood School, New Milton
Thursday 13 March: Crestwood College for Business and Enterprise v Bitterne Park
Friday 14 March: The Final (competing schools to be confirmed)

The Challenge aims to get Year 10 pupils thinking about engineering as a possible career by introducing them to the technical aspects of building a racing car. They will also explore the potential of 'green' energy, as the cars run on 24-volt electric motors and 12-volt batteries.

The 72 pupils are also involved in an innovative science and engineering e-mentoring scheme coordinated by the University in partnership with The Brightside Trust and The Royal Academy of Engineering. The pupils have been matched with one of 18 Southampton engineering undergraduate mentors and communicate with them via a 'blogging' system on a secure e-mentoring website called Live Journals. Areas of support include current studies, progression to further and higher education and life at university.

The Live Journals website also offers pupils a comprehensive library of information on science and engineering careers, study skills and student life. A dedicated Greenpower Challenge section allows pupils to post questions to the University's Greenpower expert Jeremy Way in the lead up to the event.

Charlotte Everitt, Outreach and Partnership Officer at the University of Southampton, says: 'Through the Southampton Schools' Greenpower Challenge and e-mentoring scheme, we are offering pupils aged between 14 and 15 years of age a unique and exciting opportunity to find out more about engineering careers, explore their ambitions and gain a unique insight into life as a university student.'

The University is the official technical sponsor of Greenpower, the UK's premier build and racing series for schoolchildren aged nine and over, which aims to promote engineering and technology to pupils aged 10 to 18 years.

The University's National Science and Engineering Week activities launch with a Science and Engineering Day for families at the Highfield campus on Saturday 8 March. For more information about the University's Science and Engineering Week events, visit

For further information on Greenpower visit

Notes for editors

  • The races will take place at 2.15pm during the qualifying rounds on 10, 11 and 13 March and at 1.30pm on 14 March, the final. If you would like to film or take photographs of the races or the design and build of the cars on any of the four days at the Mountbatten Centre, Portsmouth, please contact Sue Wilson in Communications on 023 8059 5457.

  • The University of Southampton's School of Engineering Sciences offers expertise in engineering disciplines that underpin every aspect of 21st century life. Evolving from its traditional engineering roots, the School continues to expand into new, exciting research areas. From orthopaedic implant modelling and modern fuel cell technologies, to enhancing satellite broadcast technology and improving the aerodynamics of Formula One racing cars and hydrodynamics of America's Cup yachts, the School is always at the leading edge of engineering research.

  • The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship.

    This is one of the country's top institutions for engineering, computer science and medicine, and home to a range of world-leading research centres, including the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the Optoelectronics Research Centre, the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, and the Mountbatten Centre for International Studies.

    We combine academic excellence with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to research, supporting a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of learning.

    As one of the UK's top 10 research universities, we offer first-rate opportunities and facilities for study and research across a wide range of subjects in humanities, health, science and engineering.

    We have over 22,000 students, around 5000 staff, and an annual turnover in the region of £325 million.

  • The Greenpower Challenge is part of the Royal Academy of Engineering's (RAEng) Shape the Future campaign aimed at raising awareness of engineering and technology as a stimulating career option and an essential and exciting part of modern Britain. The RAEng is also supporting the University's Science and Engineering Week 2008.

  • Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. The fellowship - comprising the UK's most eminent engineers - provides the leadership and expertise for Academy activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, they provide independent and impartial advice to Government, work to secure the next generation of engineers and provide a voice for Britain's engineering community. See

  • Greenpower Electric Car Races for Schools is the UK's premier build and racing series for schoolchildren aged nine and up. The aim of Greenpower is to influence youngsters to consider engineering and technology fields for their careers and to endeavour to fill in some of the huge void that currently exists in the public perception of engineering and its place in society today. Through the adherence to electricity as the means of propulsion, Greenpower is dedicated to showing how relevant this means of propulsion is to our future lives. See

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