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Indy style competitive electric go kart racing for schools and colleges is coming to Wigan – thanks to a local tech training provider, The Blair Project!

Developed in the home of the Indy 500 in the USA, the evGrand Prix aims to educate a new generation of highly skilled workers who can design, build and service high performance electric vehicles.

This high-octane Career Readiness program gives students aged 14-18 hands on experience of working with electric vehicle technologies in a real world racing environment.  As well as learning about various aspects of electric vehicles, including battery technology, vehicle construction, electronic controls and braking systems, students must also effectively market their team and the competition to the community, government agencies, industry partners and sponsors.

This innovative technical & vocational programme uses the power and exhilaration of motorsport to inspire and engage young people to pursue careers in science technology engineering and maths often referred to as STEM.

 

Now in its 5th year, the evGrand Prix has been developed by Purdue University,  one of America’s leading motorsport universities which is driving research and development in electric and autonomous vehicles.

 

Purdue’s Director of Motorsport Danny White will be arriving in Wigan on January 8 to meet schools and colleges who’ve already signed up for the programme, in addition to education bosses, business leaders and potential sponsors in Manchester and Blackburn.

 

The Blair Project first came to the attention of Purdue University when they read about Prince Harry’s visit to Wigan to attend the first day of testing of the Blair Project’s innovative ProtoGP Schools Kart Challenge. Teams of pupils competed to design, build and race the fastest 3D printed karts at Three Sisters Racing Circuit back in July 2016.

 

Danny said “Electric vehicles represent the future, and we’re getting students not only prepared but excited about that future. It’s the perfect vehicle for engaging students in a wide variety of electro-mechanical technologies.”

He added “ We’re delighted to be working with trailblazing training providers like The Blair Project and our other international partners Bolton University’s National Centre For Motorsport Engineering to engage and train the engineers and technologists of the future”.

Six go-karts will race in the first ever evGrandPrix UK which will be held at Three Sisters Racing Circuit. The karts are capable of accelerating faster than traditional petrol powered go-karts, but will be restricted to a top speed of about 35 mph for safety purposes,

The race will consist of two 50-lap segments with a mandatory pit stop between the segments for battery pack swaps and any required modifications or enhancements. Scoring will be based on a combination of race performance, energy efficiency, engineering design and community outreach.

The winning team will get to compete in the world finals at the Indiana Motor Speedway in May, which attracts over 700 student competitors and takes place just before the famous Indy 500. The collegiate competition is part of the 2-week long festivities for the Indy Car event. This means Indy Cars would be practicing around the track as the student electric go-karts race!.

The Blair Project was originally set up in Mar 2014 to champion grassroots motor racing talent and challenge the status quo in motorsport which is very much elitist. Over the years, the focus has changed to provision of STEM education & vocational skills training using the catalyst of motorsport to enthuse young people about engineering & new digital technologies.

From its DigiFutures training facility at Central Park in Pemberton, the Blair Project provides specialist training in 3D printing, computer aided design, cyber security, video gaming and data analysis to upskill local people in new digital technologies and progress them into apprenticeships, further education, jobs and self-employment.

The founder and CEO of The Blair Project is 22 year old Nile Henry, is keen to hear from organisations interested in sponsorship opportunities.

He said “We’re keen to build a strong ecosystem with local businesses, community groups and agencies to give our young people access to the best project based STEM learning opportunities that will give them the best start in life”.

He added: “ We’re grateful to Prince Harry for helping to boost our profile both at home and on the international stage. It was pivotal in attracting a prestigious partner as Purdue University which we couldn’t have done on our own. We wish him and Megan Markle best wishes for their forthcoming marriage”.

Organisations wishing to find out more about sponsorship opportunities, should contact Dr Marilyn Comrie OBE at info@theblairproject.org in the first instance.