East Antrim students race into pole position at engineering competition

The Northern Thunder Racing team from Northern Regional College with their tutor Ruth Barr. INLT-22-707-con
The Northern Thunder Racing team from Northern Regional College with their tutor Ruth Barr. INLT-22-707-con

An electric car built by NRC engineering students has scooped the IET Forumla 24+ Greenpower NI & IE Championships.

The students, from across East Antrim, also placed third overall after they designed and developed a single seat electric car which they raced against other school teams from across Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The event was part of an engineering education initiative supported by local educators.

The NRC team of students, whose race team name was “Northern Thunder,” are currently studying Level Three Extended Diploma in Engineering at the Newtownabbey campus.

The competition included pupils from local primary schools, FE colleges and universities , allowing young people in aged 11-25 in the Newtownabbey area to learn about the design and manufacture of electric vehicles as well as gaining valuable experience and transferable skills.

For some children and students, the project was the first time they had worked with tools or design software such as SolidEdge.

They also harnessed support from local industry and the community, deploying marketing and enterprise skills.

Stuart Christy from the local Greenpower ambassador team said “We were excited to see a complete education pathway from primary school through to university.

“This means that our young people will gain the skills they need to take their ideas and innovations, and make them real.

“We are so grateful to the Ulster University for their continued support that they provide.”

NRC student Stuart McVeigh from the mechanical team commented: “The whole project was a brilliant experience right from the start to the race day and hopefully it will continue to be if we make it to the final at Rockingham in England.

“I have a great interest in motorsport and this project let me get a hands on and practical experience building an electric car.

“I took on a lot of responsibility along with others in the mechanical team (Bill Abernethy, Andrew Campbell and Stephen Peden) building the car and making it was mechanically ready for the race day.

“This project has helped me develop my team work and time management skills as we had to work to tight deadlines and work as a team to achieve a common goal.’

Level Three student Matthew Logan took sole responsibility for the media coverage of the Northern Thunder team. Matthew explained: “I had a lot of responsibility looking after the media side of things by myself and there was a very late night before the race trying to get the portfolio put together.

“But all the hard work was worth it because I now realise the influence social media can have on a project and how important it was to keep a record of the project progression.

“The Facebook and Twitter pages are full of photos, videos and general updates of how we ended up winning the F24+ and were great to let our sponsors, friends and the college know how we developed the car.

“These can be found at https://twitter.com/NRC_RacingTeam and https://www.facebook.com/northernthunderraceteam?fref=photo.”