Friday, July 7th, 2017.

Excelsior’s design team (l to r): Samia Khanom, Abdulmohaimen Almaghtuf, Amani Nashih and Marika Dankowska with their model racing car

A place on the starting grid of the regional final of the prestigious Nissan F1 in Schools competition awaits talented Excelsior Academy racing car designers.

They wowed judges in the keenly fought local heat of the Nissan F1 event at Sunderland with the design and performance of their Precise Formula model car.

Such was its speed off the grid powered by a compressed air bottle, that the Excelsior team of Abdulmohaimen Almaghtuf, Samia Khanom, Amani Nashih and Marika Dankowska have won through to the regional finals of the competition back at Nissan in February.

The brief for the competing teams sees each school have a Formula One team commissioned to design, construct and race the fastest F1 car of the future.

The competition spans the globe every year with thousands of young people aged between 9 and 19 helping to change perceptions about STEM subjects by creating an exciting way of looking at careers in engineering, science, marketing and technology.

There are many success stories who have come through the initiative and gone on to achieve significant outcomes in their lives, including positions in Formula One teams.

Experts from Nissan are working with the Excelsior team to improve their car in time for next year’s regional finals.

Marika said: “We had a week to make our car, so we worked on computer aided design at Nissan to design the car and put it into a format for the Nissan team to see if it was aerodynamic. The manager said our portfolio was one of the best he’d ever seen.”

Samia, who has her sights set on an engineering career, said: “We fitted a compressed air bottle into the back of the car and you got points for how fast the car went and reaction times.”

And fellow team member Amani said: “It was a great experience, we learned how to work together as a team. We had a string underneath the car keeping the car straight on the track and stopping it moving from side to side.

“We will have to design a new car for the regional finals because it doesn’t meet the regulations for that competition.  We know what to do now we have been through the heats.”

Andrew Craig, Excelsior Academy Assistant Principal, said: “Experts from Nissan will be working closely with the team over the next few months to improve the design of their F1 car, manufacture and test it and prepare their portfolio ready for February next year.

“Should they be successful, the team would go onto the national final and then possibly the world final!

“Pupils from previous competitions in other schools have gone on to follow a career at Nissan or in the F1 industry, so this is a fantastic opportunity for our Excelsior pupils who have seized it with great skill and enthusiasm.”

The Excelsior team is off to a flying start for the regional finals by securing sponsorship from Teaching Personnel. This will allow T-shirts to be printed for the pupils sporting their new car design and logos.