A state-of-the-art racetrack being used by aspiring engineers at Northampton College in the national finals of the F1 in Schools competition went on show at Weston Favell Centre, giving shoppers the chance to get pole position on the grid.

F1 in Schools is a worldwide multi-disciplinary challenge in which teams use CAD/CAM software to design, analyse, manufacture, test and then race miniature compressed air-powered cars.

The Ignite NC team were crowned the winners of the regional heats of the global competition and will take part in the UK finals next month. If they succeed there they could be heading to the world finals in Singapore.

As part of their preparations for the final the team took the track To Weston Favell Centre for a testing day.

Engineering tutor Neil Tobin said: “The collaboration between departments has made this a truly special project to work on and it has been a real team effort to continually refine our car and performance to the point where we hope we can now be competitive on a national and, maybe, international level.

“Showing the track to the public has been a great experience for all of us and it has gone down really well with everything that came along to have a go. We have another visit planned to one of our sponsors, Barclays, in a couple of weeks and that should be another good step on our journey to the finals.”

The challenge inspires students to use IT to learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacture, branding, graphics, sponsorship, marketing, leadership/teamwork, media skills and financial strategy, and apply them in a practical, imaginative, competitive and exciting way.

The Northampton College team has secured sponsorship and support from local employers including Barclays, Cosworth, Alcon Engineering, Arnold Plastics, Sytner JLR, Metrol Springs, MTDCNC, 3DQF, Festo Didactic and Farrington Oils. 

The Ignite NC team is made up of finance manager Joshua Hackett, manufacturing engineer Matthew Knight, design engineer Lucas Buksh and graphic designer Samuel Shears.

The college team is focusing on the environmental impact of its involvement in the competition and, as part of its submission, is looking at ways of improving sustainability by planting trees to offset carbon use and recycling gas cylinders into clocks and model cars.

Any companies interested in getting involved in supporting Northampton College’s involvement in F1 in Schools ahead of the national finals can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.