Challenge were put through their paces at a series of intensive training workshops.  The one-day workshops event at Silverstone Innovation Centre, located at the famous Silverstone circuit, was part of the teams' preparation for the Design Challenge Grand Final in July.


Following careful pre-judging of a large number of Design Challenge entries from schools across the UK, 23 teams had been shortlisted, coming from 13 schools.  At the workshops, members of the shortlisted teams took part in exercises teaching them about business planning, marketing and presentation skills, all of which will be important for the Final in the summer.


At the Grand Final, on 9 July, the teams will give presentations to a panel of judges, comprising a number of senior figures from the motorsport industry and local businesses.  The Final will be modelled on the Dragons Den television programme, with the teams pitching in turn to the judging panel.


The Silverstone Innovation Centre Design Challenge is open to school students aged 11 to18, working in teams to design new inventions and products for the motorsport industry.  It is designed so that the work teams put into competing can be woven into regular design and technology classes.


Each team comprises of up to four members, who choose to compete in one of five challenges:


  • The Engineering Excellence challenge is to emulate the London Eye and design a new tourist attraction for a UK town or city, with a budget of £15m.  Supported by Northamptonshire Enterprise.
  • What-ya-call-it? is about coming up with the next clever idea for an innovative solution to a vexing everyday problem.  Supported by Bletchley Park.


  • Vehicle 2020 is just what it says: the challenge of designing a Formula One car for the year 2020, taking into account how technology will rapidly change.  Supported by F1 in Schools.


  • The Formula Fashion challenge is to design a team outfit, taking into account the technical requirements of Formula One and also the need to look sharp off the track.  Supported by Silverstone Circuit.


  • Promo Puzzle involves the teams coming up with a range of promotional materials for either an event of their choice or designed to attract more people to formula one.  Supported by Sarah Franklin Racing.


In addition there are awards for Best Team Image, supported by Scalextric, and Best Visual Presentation, also supported by Sarah Franklin Racing.  The overall champion team awarded the Design Challenge Trophy will also win a prize provided by Lunar Racing.


In addition to providing a special prize for the winners, Lunar Racing is offering teams taking part in the Design Challenge the chance to enter an extra competition to design a method for the production of high-quality biodiesel fuel made from cooking oil. 


Dianne Wilson, Manager of Silverstone Innovation Centre, said: “All of us at Silverstone Innovation Centre are delighted with the interest and enthusiasm of the teams that are taking part and that the Design Challenge is growing in popularity each year.  The support we receive is crucial to the success of the Challenge, and I would like to thank everyone who has given their time to make this work.  We are already putting together plans for the 2010 Design Challenge, which will be launched shortly in May so that schools can work the programme into their curricula for this coming year.”

The Design Challenge was conceived by Silverstone Innovation Centre in close association with Darren Giles, a design and technology teacher at The National School in Nottingham.  Darren Giles said: “The standard of the entries for this year's Design Challenge was very high, and producing the shortlist was not easy.  We're looking forward to the Grand Final in July, and it will be particularly interesting to see how much advice and expertise the teams picked up at the workshops.  As always, the Design Challenge's supporters have been very generous in giving their time and resources to help develop the next generation of motorsport engineers.” 


Silverstone Circuit will be hosting the Grand Final at its Jimmy Brown Centre as well supporting the Formula Fashion challenge.  The winners of this challenge could see their designs sold in one of Silverstone's shops.  David Thomson, Legal and Procurement Director of Silverstone Circuit, said: “We're delighted to be hosting the Grand Final and supporting the Formula Fashion challenge.  I am looking forward to being part of the panel in the Dragons Den and seeing the teams pitch at close hand.”


Notes for editors

Press enquiries to: Margaret Henry, PR Director

Tel: + 44 (0)1865 811199   Email:

About the Silverstone Innovation Centre Design Challenge

Founded in 2007, the Silverstone Innovation Centre Design Challenge is open to school students who work in teams to design new products for the motorsport industry.

For more information:

About Silverstone Innovation Centre

Silverstone Innovation Centre is a joint venture between British Racing Drivers Club and the East Midlands Development Agency, managed by Oxford Innovation.  The Centre is designed to house up to 40 high performance engineering start-up and growing companies and offers 30,000 sq ft of space with individual units ranging from under 200 sq ft to over 1,000 sq ft. It is located at Silverstone Circuit, the home of British motorsport and the venue of the British Grand Prix, and is served by the A43 dual carriageway between the M1 and M40.  For more information:

About Oxford Innovation

Oxford Innovation provides services to growing companies, and to government bodies that promote enterprise.  The company operates 14 Innovation Centres that provide flexible office and laboratory space to over 400 technology, knowledge-based and creative companies.

Oxford Innovation also manages three highly successful Investment Networks that link investors with entrepreneurs seeking funding from £20,000 to £2 million.  During the last five years, the investment networks have helped over 90 companies raise £19.5m.  For more information:

Oxford Innovation's sister firm, SQW Consulting, is a leading economic development and management consultancy whose clients include government departments in the UK and overseas, regional development agencies, funding bodies, local authorities, partnerships and international organisations.  For more information:

Silverstone Innovation Centre hosts training workshops for shortlisted innovators. Young engineers and entrepreneurs were developing their skills at Silverstone recently as the shortlisted teams for the 2009 Silverstone Innovation Centre Design...

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