Top Gear Festival endeavors to give back to the community in South Africa and has launched a number of initiatives to help students get into motoring and engineering. In 2013, a new partnership with F1 in Schools promises to build upon the success of last year’s work.

Scientists, researchers, and engineers are all the backbone of any knowledge-based economy and with this in mind, seven Durban schools have taken on the challenge to test their technical skills and love for motorsport as they compete to design the ultimate Formula One1 car of the future in Top Gear Festival’s Legacy Initiative Project: the F1 In Schools Technology Challenge.

With the support of the Durban University of Technology, this multi-disciplinary challenge tasks seven teams of students to design and create a miniature version of the F1 car of the future.  This mini Formula One racer must to be made out of balsa wood and be a powered by a compressed CO2 cylinder across a 20 metre track.

The F1 in schools will take place at Top Gear Festival Durban from the 15-16 June at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, where each team will also have an exhibition stand to display their drawings and marketing campaign for their respective schools.

Festival-goers will be invited to watch the races and question the students who have participated.

The seven schools participating are:

1) Clifton College – 2 teams participating

2) George Campbell Technical School

3) Glenwood Boys High School

4) Open Air School

5) Phoenix Technical School

6) Sivananda Technical School

7) Umlazi Comtech


Top Gear Festival’s Legacy Initiative Project Manager, Anna Sacks, says the challenge was designed specifically to inspire students to use IT to learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacture, branding, graphics, sponsorship, marketing, leadership teamwork, media skills and financial strategy and apply them in a practical, imaginative, competitive and exciting way.

“This is a fantastic programme, with the potential to educate, empower and inspire.  It does take commitment from both parties, but the end result is going to be amazing. We are looking forward to being inspired and educated by these miniature dynamo F1 creations,” said Anna.

The teams will be using 3D CAD software to collaborate, design, analyse, manufacture, test and then race their miniature gas powered balsa wood F1 cars.

As it is a multi-disciplinary challenge the teams will be judged on a number of mediums including:

1)      Car speed

2)      The supporting evidence of their design

3)      Their verbal presentation and

4)      Their marketing display stand at the Festival

Each team has been allocated a current DUT student within the Engineering Faculty, as a mentor to assist with the technical and IT aspects of designing the F1 cars, while the Top Gear Festival team will provide training within the areas of Commercial Sponsorship and Marketing to assist students in preparing their business plan; creating a budget and raising sponsorship in order to fund their ventures.

To date the students have attended one of two workshops on how to approach potential partners or sponsors and how to develop their marketing campaign. This support will continue on a one to one basis for each of the teams until the build-up to race day at the Top Gear Festival.

A public test run opportunity will be held at the ScienCentre, Gateway Theatre of Shopping, when the teams will showcase their technological pieces in a mock race. These dates will be confirmed closer to the time.

*Tickets for the Top Gear Festival are on sale now and range from the Basic Ticket at R250 to R2 100 for an Ultimate Package. For more information on ticket prices or to book, visit or visit to purchase tickets.

*Check out Top Gear Festival SA on Facebook (; Twitter(@topgearfestsa) and our website


About Top Gear Live

Top Gear Live is a joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Brand Events UK.
The live events offer an exciting variation on more traditional motoring events. Top Gear Festivals* include elements such as Motoring Theatre which incorporates the drama of film and theatre with the thrills and spills of stunts and special effects; Track Action including Stig power laps, head-to-head racing, supercars, drag racing and celebrity race challenges; Exhibition Areas – packed with supercars, classic motors and motoring memorabilia as well as other features.

Since 2008 Top Gear Live events have entertained over 1.75 million fans in 20 cities around the World and we are proud to be bringing this event to Durban, South Africa for the first time.
*Festival content varies by Country

About BBC Entertainment

BBC Entertainment (DStv Channel 120) showcases the very best drama, comedy and light entertainment from the BBC and leading UK production companies. BBC Entertainment airs the brand new series of Top Gear exclusively in South Africa. Top Gear is on the channel on Wednesdays at 20.00 CAT.

About BBC Worldwide 

BBC Worldwide Limited is the main commercial arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The company exists to maximise the value of the BBC’s assets for the benefit of the licence fee payer and invest in public service programming in return for rights. The company has six core businesses: Channels, Content & Production, Sales & Distribution, BBC Magazines, Home Entertainment and Global Brands. In 2009/10, BBC Worldwide generated profits of £145 million (operating profit before specific items) on sales of £1074 million (including Group revenue and the Group’s share of joint-ventures’ revenue).

BBC Worldwide was awarded with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in April 2009. This prestigious award for International Trade recognised the company’s substantial growth in overseas earnings and its commercial success at outstanding levels, based on 3 years’ trading results, which benefit the UK creative industries and ultimately the licence fee payer.

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