FINAL testing is under way as North East students compete for honours in a national contest designed to encourage a generation of engineers by producing the fastest model car.

The F1 model team at Emmanuel College, Gateshead, has enlisted the support of motorsport experts to take their regional heat winning car to greater heights.

Rhys Rogers, 17, Elliott Johnson, Emily Miller and Jack Collier, all 18, have been developing their car in lunchtimes and after school. The miniature F1 cars are 21cm long and powered by compressed air, with the winner completing the fastest time over a fixed run.

They will take their blisteringly quick model car to the national finals of the F1 in Schools contest, to be staged at the Big Bang Fair, at the ExCel arena, in London, on March 15 and 16, competing with equally passionate speed fans from across the country.

The Red Kite Racing team took the regional heat by just 1/3000th of a second and has since been working with Go Motor Sport to develop the wheel bearings and aerodynamics of the balsa wood car.

Their efforts have also been recognised by Newcastle University, which hosted the regional heat and has invited them to be STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics) ambassadors speaking at a variety of future events.

Emily, who is the current North East Young Engineer of the Year, would like to work in medical electronics.

She said: “We have all learned such a lot taking part in this competition. We have all really developed our communications skills and it has fuelled our passion for technology.”

Technology teacher at Emmanuel College Louise Glover said: “The students’ enthusiasm is unbridled and infectious. I have seen them grow over the weeks and the research and development they have carried out has been admirable, leaving them with high hopes for the final and the future.”

Ms Glover said the college was grateful to their sponsors including Sunderland University, Recognition Express, Brammer Bearings, Imprint, the Friends of Red Kites and Go Motor Sport.