News > Precision bearings help student team take F1 in Schools World Championship crown

Precision bearings help student team take F1 in Schools World Championship crown


Custom manufactured bearings, supplied and fitted by super precision bearings manufacturer The Barden Corporation (UK) Ltd, have helped a team of British students scoop the top award at the 2008 F1 in Schools World Final.

The competition saw 'Pulse', a team of four students from Devonport High School for Boys in Plymouth, travel to Malaysia to battle against 24 other teams from 15 countries to claim the World Championship title. They also achieved the Fastest Car Award and claimed victory in the Knockout Challenge against the Australian team.

As sponsors of the team, Barden supplied custom manufactured bearings for the model racing car and fitted them at their Plymouth factory. The miniature type, hybrid ceramic bearings have a bore diameter of just 3.175mm and an outside diameter of 6.35mm. To help optimise the performance of the miniature Formula 1 car, a dry lubricated bearing cage and 1mm diameter ceramic balls were used to reduce friction and enable faster speeds.

Trevor Morris, Product Engineering Manager commented: "After doing so well getting to the World Championships we wanted to ensure Pulse had every competitive advantage. We supplied them with bearings from our super precision miniature and instrument range, which are manufactured to extremely tight tolerances of less than 5 microns and offered to fit the bearings at our factory to avoid any damage to the axles. The results speak for themselves!"

Barden has sponsored Pulse since the start of this challenge, supplying bearings for the original car used in the regional and national finals of the F1 in Schools challenge over 12 months ago. The challenge is a unique competition in which students aged between 11 and 18 from schools, colleges and youth groups use CAD/CAM software to design, analyse, manufacture, test and race a miniature F1 car made from balsa wood and powered by CO2 cylinders.

The four members of Pulse - John Ware, 16, Samuel Wood, 15, Andrew Lees, 16, and Thomas Simpson, 17 - used CAD software to design the model, before transferring the design to CNC language using CAM software. The final design was then manufactured on a CNC machine. Extensive testing was carried out, including wind tunnel testing as used by actual F1 cars. The Pulse model recorded the fastest time of the competition, running the track in 1.064 seconds to claim the coveted Bernie Ecclestone World Championship Trophy. The team were also the winners of BEng Automotive and Motor Sport Engineering scholarships at City University in London.

John Ware, Team Manager for Pulse said:

It's a fantastic honour that we have been crowned as World Champions, and I am really glad that our hard work over the past two years to raise sponsorship, design and develop the car has paid off. We are all absolutely over the moon with the result, and still can't quite believe that we have won."

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