Nine Young Engineers From North Highland
29th October 2012
The team members in the group photo from left to right are: Euan Bremner, Ailsa Coulden-Smith, Nicola Gray, Ross Sinclair, Ross Mackay, Bruce Cameron, Ryan Cameron and Martin Falconer.
North Highland Young Engineers design, build and race electric cars in the Greenpower Challenge www.greenpower.co.uk Greenpower was started 14 years ago in Southern England but was only introduced to Scotland four years ago, in that short time NHYE have firmly established themselves as the dominant Scottish team and are now widely acknowledged as being one of the top teams anywhere in the UK; at the recent National Final held at Goodwood one of our cars finished in 3rd position.
The initial perception people have of Greenpower is of the cars being little more than a few bicycle parts thrown together, in reality they are amongst the most efficient vehicles to be found anywhere in the world with teams using high tech composites for light but strong construction, onboard computers to manage power consumption and Computational Fluid Dynamics to design the most aerodynamic shape; the top cars can exceed 40mph with just half a horsepower.
Nine members of North Highland Young Engineers recently made the 1500 mile round trip to compete in the Grand Final of the Greenpower Challenge at Goodwood circuit in West Sussex. The Greenpower Challenge is a rapidly growing competition in which young engineers design, build, then race electric cars; with the top teams producing cars that are amongst the most efficient vehicles to be found anywhere in the world.
The first race of the day was for the 16-25 years age group and included "Mjolnir" driven by Stewart Coulden-Smith and Ross MacKay. Unfortunately a mechanical fault meant the car was unable to reach its full speed but still managed to finish the 90 minute race in 9th place which meant a creditable final position in the championship table of 7th.
At 1pm 75 cars took to the grid for the start of the day's main event, the F24 Grand Final. Qualification had been gained at regional heats earlier in the year and the Caithness cars, Wacky Racer and Coyote would start in 43rd and 5th places respectively. Since the last heat one month earlier both teams worked very hard to further improve their cars and hopes of a good performance were high. The Union Flag fell to start the race and both cars got away well, at the end of the first lap Coyote was into 3rd and Wacky Racer was also gaining places.
In a four hour race reliability is crucial and both cars performed faultlessly. Team strategy was to carry out compulsory driver changes early in the race so at the halfway mark Wacky was in 48th position and Coyote in 8th but both had to make just one more stop. Thanks to excellent teamwork the last stops went smoothly, Wacky was gradually reeling in the cars ahead and Coyote, now the fastest car on track was in 4th position and rapidly closing on the 3rd placed car.
The chequered flag fell with Wacky finishing its final race before retirement in 38th having covered 84 miles, Coyote finished 3rd beating their own Scottish record with a distance of 118 miles as well as taking the award for Best Engineered Car. To put this achievement into perspective, Coyote could travel from Thurso to Inverness on just 20 pence worth of electricity.
The club would like to thank the following for their help and support, Pentland Electric Racing, Blargoans Ltd, Babcock International, Meygen, Dounreay Communities Fund, Meiklejohn Taxis, The Doris Grey Fund; and special thanks to North Highland College for the use of the superb facilities of the ETEC building.