A team of aspiring engineers from King Edward’s School in Bath has won the South West regional final of the Land Rover 4×4 in Schools Technology Challenge, securing themselves a place in the UK National Final in March.

The Land Rover 4×4 in Schools Challenge, which requires teams to build a radio controlled four-wheel drive (4×4) vehicle which can successfully navigate and complete obstacles on an off-road test track, thereby emulating the capabilities of a full size 4×4 vehicle, attracted teams from across the region.

The KES team, working together under its racing name of ‘11th Hour 4×4’, won the Development Class (open to team members aged 11-19yrs) and picked up an additional award for best engineered vehicle. The team will now go on to compete in the National Final at The British Motor Museum, Warwick, and will be hoping they can make it one stage further to the World Final.

During the regional heat, the KES team had to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of its vehicle’s suspension, chassis and wheels. The day involved a verbal presentation and engineering interview ahead of testing their vehicle on a demanding obstacle course.

Talking about the day, Eve Chillcott, from the KES team, said, “As soon as we arrived at the venue we had to set up our pit display, before an official welcome from Land Rover, who introduced us to the competition and the track.

“First things first, we had our verbal presentation where we talked to the judges about the team and our journey through the competition. This was very nerve racking but we performed even better than we hoped. After this we had scrutineering which we passed with no issues and then we came to the track phase. This was a challenge as our car’s suspension had broken, so instead we had to use the competition’s spare car, (and with it a point deduction) however, with Rafi’s steady driving and the rest of the team chipping in for a few obstacles we only made one error.

“After this we moved onto the engineering interview where we had to answer technical questions about our car.”

When it came to the winners’ presentation, Eve added, “As our name was called for best engineered car, we were very excited, but finding out we had won our class and would progress to the National Final was amazing! Now we have a lot more work to do to get ready for that.”

The Land Rover 4×4 in Schools Challenge aims to raise awareness, interest and enthusiasm in engineering through the practical application of Design & Technology, Mathematics and Science. The Challenge’s organisers, Land Rover, also encourage teams to identify sponsors to support their project and the KES team were delighted that local companies, Ashford Homes, Cobb Farr and Rotork, supported its efforts.

Commenting on the Challenge, Land Rover explained, ‘The engineering industry requires creative, multi-disciplined individuals who are capable of problem solving through individual tasks and working in motivated teams. Our Challenge replicates a ‘real-life’ work situation where specialists come together to share intellectual and practical ideals to resolve a complex problem. The Challenge is an excellent opportunity for students to work in design teams to gain an awareness and understanding of project management and other key skills, as well as linking with engineering companies through STEM Ambassadors.’

The KES ‘11th Hour 4×4’ team comprises Georgia Baller, Rafi Borries Gruber, Eve Chillcott, Alex Christopherson and Claudia Moorhouse.

The National Final takes place on 22-23 March 2018.