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02.10.2015 | 11:02

Little balsawood racers

By: wro

Saving a hundredth of a second during tyre changes doesn't really matter to the "BSZ Racing Stable". But the "pit crew" from Wiesau still makes it onto the winners' rostrum in an international comparison. However, their racing cars weigh just 53 grams and are catapulted around the circuit at up to 70 kilometres an hour by a CO2 cartridge.

It was the first time that vocational school students, accompanied by their mentors, senior teacher Andreas Büttner and specialist subject teacher Manfred Sladky, set themselves the challenge of embarking on such a project. Just one year ago no one would have imagined that they would be standing on the winners' rostrum. The still young team of industrial mechanics from the apprenticeship class sensationally took 3rd position in the school project "F1 in Schools", among the 15 participants at the South German Championships held in the Upper Bavarian town of Fürstenfeldbruck. On Wednesday the designers from Wiesau invited their sponsors to a little celebration at Wiesau Vocational School.

Racetrack from the USA

According to the principal of Wiesau Vocational School, Dr. Wolfgang Eckstein, his students would probably not have been able to participate without sponsorship. Just making the three colourful balsawood racing cars, which tipped the scales at 53 grams, would have swallowed a considerable part of the 19,000 euro sponsorship money. A racetrack for the cars, measuring over 20 metres in length, together with the associated technology, was imported from the USA for 8,000 euro.

The "racing stable" embarked on its activities with great enthusiasm at the end of last year. Dominik Putzer was elevated from the level of vocational school student to "team manager". His responsibilities also included searching for sponsors. "Graphic designer" Patrick Härtl came up with a uniform for the "racing stable" and the informative website. "Resource manager" Felix Dubrowski was responsible for material purchasing, research and logistics. "Product engineer" Jürgen Kraus oversaw final assembly and production-oriented design. The two "designers", Johannes Fenzl and Stefan Goldmann finally sent the vehicles through the virtual wind tunnel. The three mini racing cars were then manufactured under the strict supervision of Erhard Planner at Schott in Mitterteich. The work was then evaluated by an independent jury.

With this overall package ready, the team set out one weekend in March for Fürstenfeldbruck. The competing teams comprised solely of top physics students from South German grammar schools. The team from Wiesau was the only entry from a vocational school.

Help from BMW engineers

Dr. Wolfgang Eckstein was visibly proud as he congratulated the working group. "The experience has shown us that experimental learning - dealing with our own practical experiences - leads to the desired goal more quickly. That's why we were so enthusiastic about becoming part of this project," explained Dr. Eckstein.

Project manager Manfred Sladky had also brought with him a further small surprise. For the coming year engineers from the BMW factory have promised their support. Cooperation with the two universities at Bayreuth and Pilsen has also been secured. Next year the "BSZ Racing Stable" will start the season with three teams and their vehicles.

Off to the Sachsenring

A further reward awaited the team from Wiesau during the afternoon celebrations in the school auditorium. Following an invitation from the ADAC and Motorsport Schubert, the youngsters will be able to enjoy driving around the Sachsenring racing circuit on the last weekend in August. Furthermore, the next South German Championships will be held in Wiesau. "Perhaps we'll have our own 3D printer by then. That would be our biggest wish to the school or to our sponsors", hopes Manfred Sladky. Until then, the over 20 metre long racetrack will be dismantled and stored, well packaged, at the school.

At the end of the celebrations the sponsors had time to admire the racing cups and commemorative gifts that were specifically designed for them - and of course take their turn at firing off one of the 70 kph miniature racing cars on the new test track at Wiesau!