Six high-school students in Brandon, Man., have crafted model F1 race cars that they hope will earn them the top prize at an international competition next month.
Vector One, a team of Grade 11 students from Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School, is representing Canada at the F1 in Schools World Finals in Austin, Texas, in November.
The team consists of Sabrina Slack, Curtis Bauche, Justin Buhr, Lee Gorowski, Tanner Fardo and Daniel Van Heyst.
The students use modelling software to design their balsa wood race cars, which are powered with compressed air "engines" that propel them down a track. At the world finals, the track will be 20 metres long.
Despite their small size, the cars are fast: the current F1 in Schools world record is 1.02 seconds, set by a team from Northern Ireland.
The Crocus Plains team won the Canadian competition earlier this year and the students are now among 39 teams from 23 countries coming to Texas.
Manitoba Education Minister Nancy Allan visited Crocus Plains on Wednesday to congratulate the team.
The F1 in Schools program gives students a way to learn more about science, engineering, technology and math, but Crocus Plains head coach Tara Hamilton says they learn many other skills as well.
"The main part of the competition comes from an engineering aspect, but the students also learn multiple different skills like business relations, public speaking, graphic design, marketing, other technologies, manufacturing," she said.
Many of the Vector One members are aspiring engineers and designers, and winning the world finals could present major opportunities for them: the winning team will win automotive and motorsport engineering scholarships to City University London in England.
"I hope we win, but … it's a good experience even if we don't win. It'll be worth it," said Bauche.