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MODEL RACE CAR TEAM Local students qualify for national contest



Published: Sat, June 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The team's car is judged on performance, presentation and display.

By KATIE LIBECCO

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CANFIELD -- Mahoning County Career and Technical Center's Jaguar F1 model race car team, Team Extreme, will participate in a national competition June 28-July 1 in Chicago.

This is the first year MCCTC has competed in the Jaguar F1 in Schools CAD/CAM Design Challenge. More than 30 teams from across the nation will compete in Chicago.

The winner of the national competition will travel to Birmingham, England, to compete internationally in January 2006.

Educational experience

Jaguar F1 in Schools CAD/CAM Design Challenge is a partnership with the Technical Student Association. Building and racing model cars is a hands-on educational experience for grades six through 12 that teaches engineering and physics.

Erin Johnson, Bob Miller and Tom Slaven, MCCTC science teachers, are Team Extreme's advisers. They coordinated lessons in the classroom with the Jaguar F1 competition.

"Wherever we had topics that could be incorporated into the car, we'd take some time and dedicate it to the car. Things like speed, acceleration and velocity," said Slaven. "It was a yearlong project."

Cars are built from balsa wood on a 1-to-20 scale of a Jaguar Formula 1 race car and are fueled by carbon dioxide gas cartridges. A pin punctures the cartridge at the starting line to propel the car down the 65-foot track.

Students used computer-aided design and manufacture software to create and analyze the cars. Team Extreme tested the aerodynamics of the car in two wind tunnels in the physics classroom until they had the ideal shape, team member Ryan Mize said.

Regional race

Teams are judged on the car's performance, an oral presentation and a display of how the car was created. Two cars race at a time and teams are eliminated in a double-elimination process.

To qualify for the national competition, Team Extreme had to prove itself. First, there was a schoolwide competition. It was open to any student who was in an adviser's science class.

The race was large enough to be considered a regional competition and sent two teams to the state finals.

Team Extreme's car was the minimum size allowed to compete, which was an advantage, Slaven said.

Many students used the school's automotive department to paint their cars, adviser Erin Johnson said.

MCCTC's was the first regional competition in the Jaguar F1 challenge to use radar timing. Students in the criminal justice department volunteered their radar gun and timed the races. The average speed was 30 mph and the highest speed captured was 45 mph, Slaven said.

The school board funded the cost of the car parts, machinery and track.

State competition

Team Extreme then advanced to the state competition against nine other teams. It finished second to Mideast Career and Technical Center in Zanesville.

Team members who qualified at states for the national competition are Nate Galpin and Ryan Mize of West Branch, John Haldie and Jim Woodward of Struthers and Mike McConnell of Campbell.

The number of team members going to nationals is still undetermined because of the students' work schedules. Only Mize has committed, advisers said.

Last year was the first appearance of an American team in the international competition. The Bloomsburg (Pa.) High School team won best overall and fastest car.




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