Professional driver races car built by Dagenham students

Post reporter Mark Shales takes one of the cars for a spin

Post reporter Mark Shales takes one of the cars for a spin - Credit: Archant

A professional motor racer, the national boss of one of the world’s biggest motor companies and a class of young engineers came together to test drive a trio of very special cars yesterday.

Post reporter Mark Shales takes one of the cars for a spin

Post reporter Mark Shales takes one of the cars for a spin - Credit: Archant

Powered by a pair of rechargeable batteries and a 12-volt DC motor, the racing vehicles were all built by students at Elutec, in Yew Tree Avenue, Dagenham, as part of their studies.

The cars can reach speeds of up to 24mph without releasing fumes into the environment and have already been given the professional seal of approval.

Speedster Luciano Bacheta, the last Formula Two world champion, took one of the cars for a spin round a make-shift circuit through the nearby May and Baker Club car park – lapping a rather slow Post reporter in the process.

“It was very good fun,” said Luciana, who featured in Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation as a stunt driver earlier this year.

Post reporter Mark Shales takes one of the cars for a spin

Post reporter Mark Shales takes one of the cars for a spin - Credit: Archant


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“It’s awesome that these guys get the opportunity to race them – the fundamentals are very similar to what I do in my racing career.

“You still have to carry the speed through the corners and be as efficient as possible.

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“We’ve got young people catching the bug for engineering and people catching the bug for driving so it’s promoting industry and ideas at a very young age, which can only be good for motor sport in general.”

The three cars have already raced competitively at Battersea Park and tutors at the college insist this is just the beginning.

Second-year physics and engineering student Joe Austin, 17, of Brian Road, Chadwell Heath, was one of the students involved in the project and hopes to become a racing engineer in the future.

“It was quite a proud feeling , driving something you’ve made,” he said. “I got a great sense of achievement, and it’s an opportunity you wouldn’t get at most schools.

“It was good fun all working together and I’d love to do something similar as a career.”

And Andy Barratt, chairman and managing director of Ford of Britain, insists the exposure to engineering at a young age is good news for the UK motor industry

“It’s great to see such a keen interest in a mix of both boys and girls,” he said.

“We have a current shortage of engineers in the UK so this can only help the industry.

“Engineers are the creators of wealth and we need more of them.”

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