Track News
January 22, 2015


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The competition was intense, even if the cars were small, last weekend at Circuit of The Americas. For the

third straight year, the Circuit hosted the Texas regional of F1 in Schools, a

global competition in which high school students design, construct and race miniature cars on a specially designed track.

Six teams from Texas competed in the regional – three from Presidio near the border with Mexico, two from Granbury west of Fort Worth and one from Austin.

The top three teams — Affinity F1 Racing and Summit Racing, both of Granbury,

and TALON Racing of Austin – advanced to the U.S./Canada national championship in May for a shot to compete in the world finals in Singapore, which will coincide this year with that country’s Formula One Grand Prix in September.

F1 in Schools uses racing to teach students science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM. The program can be found in more than 40 countries around the world.

Teams of three to six students use computer-aided design and manufacturing tools to shape a block of balsa wood into a miniature race car. The cars are powered by co2 cartridges and are raced on specially built 80-foot tracks. Races last about one second, so being fast on the starting trigger is just as important as getting the best shape of the car.

But the competition is more than just building the fastest car. Teams also must create portfolios and pit displays that give information about the car, the design and construction process, marketing projects and team identity. They also must give a verbal presentation to a panel of judges during competitions. All of these aspects are factored into a team’s final score at the end of competitions.

“The kids get exposure to the research and analysis of aerodynamic principals, but they also work as a team to learn those 21 st Century soft skills – budgeting and marketing, the verbal presentations, the engineering presentations they have to do,” said Juan Gonzalez, F1 in Schools Texas Regional Competition Event Coordinator and an assistant principal at Austin’s W. Charles Akins High School -STEM Academy. “There’s just a lot to get out of the program.”

Gonzalez also leads the team from Austin, which has advanced to the national finals for each of the past three years.

Hosting F1 in Schools is one of the many educational initiatives the Circuit is involved in every year. Other projects have included hosting a STEM competition for eighth-grade students at Austin’s Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders and architecture presentations by third- and fourth-year students from the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Architecture.

“F1 in Schools” Technology Challenge 2015 Texas Regional results

Grand Champion H.S.: Affinity F1 Racing, Granbury, TX

Second Place H.S.: Summit Racing, Granbury, TX

Third Place H.S.: TALON Racing, Austin, TX

Fastest Car: TALON Racing, Austin, TX

Best Engineered Car: TALON Racing, Austin, TX

Best Pit Display: Affinity F1 Racing, Granbury, TX

Best Portfolio: Affinity F1 Racing, Granbury, TX

Best Verbal Presentation: Fierce Five, Presidio, TX

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