Three Dartford students have missed out on holidays, half term break and leisure time, but they are not complaining. In the race to win the F1 in Schools™ World Champions crown, this team of 16-year-olds from Wilmington Grammar School, Dartford, have spent hundreds of hours preparing for the biggest week of their lives, travelling to Austin, Texas, to compete at the F1 in Schools World Finals 2014. Their challenge is heightened as the students have linked with students from a Singaporean F1 in Schools team to compete as a collaboration team.
 
Edward Honey, Dan Spiteri and Alex Lines-Headman are the British brains behind X-Shift, one of the 38 teams who will by vying for a very special prize of Automotive and Motorsport Engineering university scholarships to City University London and the prestige of lifting the Bernie Ecclestone World Champions trophy in this Formula 1™ linked global educational challenge.
 
X-Shift Team Manager, Ed, explains, “It is the first time that our school is represented at the World Finals and we’re expecting it to be an interesting challenge. Working with a group of students has presented its own challenges, with differing opinions which we’ve learned how to work through. When we are working our Singaporean team members are asleep so that makes it difficult too and we’ve communicated by messaging most of the time.”
 
The team has been split according to their strengths and weaknesses, with Ed saying “We were strongest in the manufacturing and design areas of the competition, so our focus has been on developing the car, with the Singapore members taking on the pit display and portfolio elements. When we meet in Austin for the first time we’ll have to rehearse for the verbal presentation and link all the elements together.”
 
Ed says of the time spent on F1 in Schools, “We still have some work to do and we’re in a race against time to have our wheels done on time. We’ve had to do an ‘all-nighter’ over the weekend and at the moment we’re living, breathing and sleeping F1 in Schools. But we’re very excited and expect it to be a great experience. We’re looking forward to every part of the trip, from competing in the competition and meeting new people to going to the US Grand Prix, it’s going to be an amazing experience.”
 
The F1 in Schools World Finals take place from 8th to 13th November in Austin, Texas. Each team of between three and six students brings together their work to present to a judging panel with a verbal and written presentation to support their model car, which is raced on a specially designed test track. At the World Finals each team will bring along a pit display, three identical cars and portfolio, as well as having prepared a presentation for the judges.  The cars race on a 20 metre track, with the cars covering the distance in just over one second, a speed barrier which is yet to be broken by any student team since it was set by Team FUGA from Northern Ireland at the 2007 World Finals at 1.020 seconds.
 
Teams will arrive in Austin later this week ahead of the Formula 1™ event, with a welcome lunch following a tour of the Texas State Capitol, not only the home of the state government of Texas, but also a USA historic landmark billed as the seventh largest building in the world. The competition then starts in earnest with the teams building their pit displays before three days of judging which will lead to an Awards Celebration and the crowning of the new F1 in Schools World Champions.
 
After all their hard work the teams will be treated to a visit to the Circuit of The Americas  and a pit lane walk on Thursday of Grand Prix week and can then stay on to watch the spectacle of the 2013 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX as guests of the Circuit of The Americas
 
The F1 in Schools World Finals take place with the assistance of a host of sponsors and supporters including Circuit of The Americas, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, City University London, Autodesk and Austin Independent Schools District.

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