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Manufacturing Challenge

2017 McLaren Manufacturing challenge reveals bright stars

McLaren hosted the 2017 McLaren Manufacturing Challenge grand finals yesterday, welcoming 32 students and their teachers, from six schools in the region.

Teams of up to five students took part in the Challenge, which aims to enthuse 14 to 16 year-olds interested in STEM-related subjects by giving them behind-the-scenes insight into the exclusive McLaren Technology Centre (MTC), and inspire the next generation of engineers and business people by offering a real-world glimpse into the wide range of disciplines on offer.

This year’s Manufacturing Challenge is the sixth event of its kind to be run by McLaren, and gives students the chance to find out about the exciting opportunities presented by modern manufacturing and engineering.

The Challenge calls for students to design and build a motor-less vehicle, powered by professional-strength rubber bands and each housing a hardboiled egg, to be raced along a purpose-built ‘track’ in the quickest time. Individual heats were held by participating schools during the past few weeks, and the winning team from each was invited to take part in yesterday’s grand final at the MTC.

An additional component of the Challenge tasks students with creating a presentation showcasing their design, methodology, car livery, sustainable materials and costs prior to running their cars, to apply a real-world commercial element to the production of their vehicles. The groups were scored by judges including McLaren Automotive Chief Engineer, Geoff Grose and McLaren Chief Innovation Officer, Geoff McGrath.

The day culminated in the grand final, with each team taking to the ‘track’ to showcase their technology prowess by running their cars – without support – with the aim of crossing the finish line with the fastest time. Each team was permitted two runs, with the quickest time being added to their scores from the previous round.

The groups were also given an exclusive tour of the McLaren Technology Centre, offering them insight into the diversity of roles on offer across the company. The Campus in Woking is where McLaren’s Formula 1 cars are designed and built, where its range of high-performance road cars are manufactured, and where technology and innovative techniques are applied to solve a wide variety of real-world challenges to improve people’s lives by McLaren Applied Technologies.

The students also met some of McLaren’s STEM Ambassadors who each offered an insight into their daily lives at work, explained their motivation to consider a STEM career, described their education and employment paths to McLaren, and were on hand to give the students advice, support and answer questions.

Over lunch, the judges deliberated over the six presentations, scores were added and the judges settled on the rankings, before the students gathered for a final awards ceremony. After a successful presentation and a faultless, flat-out drive across the finish line, the winning team was announced as George Abbot School in Guildford.

Mr James Monem, Design & Technology teacher from George Abbot School, said:

“Winning the 2017 McLaren Manufacturing Challenge is a great honour and a reflection of just how much hard work and determination went into our entry. I’m very proud of our boys for how they approached the diverse components of the Challenge, ranging from the actual vehicle concept, through to the marketing and budget elements they were required to present to the judges. The day at McLaren was also a lot of fun. We’re delighted to take home the winners’ trophy to show to everyone at George Abbot School.”

Zak Brown, Executive Director, McLaren Technology Group, said:

“At McLaren, we place a great deal of importance on inspiring the next generation of students within our high-tech, highly skilled sector. Skills and expertise in the manufacturing and engineering sectors are one of the cornerstones of the UK’s economic growth and prosperity.

“The McLaren Manufacturing Challenge is now in its sixth year, and we are proud to be involved in many varied STEM initiatives, many of which support local schools and students. Our McLaren STEM Ambassadors regularly visit schools, colleges and careers events, engaging with students and graduates to highlight the host of rewarding career options that McLaren offers to those who choose to continue their education in STEM-related subjects.”