Contributed by Senior Team Captain Alex
CAUC (otherwise known as ‘Complete and Utter Chaos’) is an Electric Car team from Sandbach High School and Sixth Form College in Cheshire, England. We build and race electric cars at circuits across the country, including Goodwood, Silverstone, Castle Combe, Aintree and Anglesey. The team consists of around 28 students aged between 11 and 18 (Year 7 – 13), are supported by our technology teacher, Mr K Gornall and Mr R Kenney, a Siemens R and D Engineer working in Congleton UK.
Every week, we meet on Tuesday nights in the school’s technology suite to work on our cars and organise race days, find sponsorship and develop car designs. In addition to this, we also practise our pits changes during several lunch times throughout the week. This allows us to make improvements which will aid us in our upcoming races. The Tuesday night before a race is all about preparing the cars for the race and planning the race strategy, with every student clear on their role throughout the day. The Tuesday following a race is an opportunity to pour through the race data to identify successes and areas for further development in the cars, the drivers and the support the team provides.
In addition to the normal weekday activities both during and after school, the team regularly take part in promotional and fund raising activities with appearances at Autosport International and Sandbach Transport Festival in the last few years. Due to the time intensive process of working high tech composite materials like carbon fibre, it’s when a new car is in construction that the whole team swings into action during the off season. Small components can be produced over a number of Tuesday evenings but a whole new car can often consume entire weekends and even whole half term weeks. All the time, students are learning not only the technical skills and requirements of the materials but also the teamwork and leadership skills of managing a multi-disciplined team.
CAUC evolved from a lunchtime technology club, where students were able to try out new machinery, tools and experiment with unfamiliar techniques. In October 2002, a few students took part in a Lego League Competition calling themselves Complete and Utter Chaos where they were required to design, build and programme a robot to complete various tasks including navigating a pre-designed course. A few months later, the team decided to branch out and enter the Greenpower races. In doing this it provided them the chance to design and build their own cars before racing them against other schools from around the UK. Since then, the team has grown and with it the family of cars has grown also.
Throughout the 17 years, the team has built and raced 8 cars, allowing us to find the best possible way to make the most efficient car we can. Our most recent additions are Dylan and Basil, who are made from the same mould and the same material, carbon fibre. In Dylan, we won the 2016 International Championship title, and from this, we have achieved 2nd place in the 2017 and 2018 season. Included in these are other supplementary awards, like the Spirit of Greenpower, Best Presented Team and the Portfolio award.
We aspire to win many races to come, ultimately winning future seasons and regain our 2016 Championship title. Being champions again, however, is not going to be easy. We have tough competition to race against and other teams are getting better all the time. This means that we must aim to be better than we ever have been. Our pit times to get faster, our race strategy to become more finely tuned and for any plans for a new car to be faster than any of our cars before.
Over the past 15 years a great number of CAUC students have gone on to study courses from Architecture to Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Product Design to Motorsport Development Engineering at various universities and a number have entered straight into industry through apprenticeship schemes. We have however also had a number of students who have gone on to other areas due to the skills they have learned through CAUC in logistics, marketing and promotion and business management.
What our team says about us:
“Joining car team has helped me gain more confidence. I now feel comfortable speaking to potential sponsors and members of the public – something I would have struggled with in the past.” – Mya, 12 (Year 7)
“CAUC and Greenpower has given me an insight into many careers involving engineering. It has taught me skills I wouldn’t ordinarily be able to do, introduced me to people I wouldn’t have met and helped me to feel more confident.” -Imogen, 12 (Year 8)
“Since I’ve joined CAUC; I have met new friends, discovered new skills and have now begun to develop a leadership role within the team.” –Erin, 13 (Year 8)
“Joining CAUC has opened my eyes to the wealth of career opportunities related to STEM and the many different roles within race teams such as race strategy.” –Rachel, 14 (Year 9)
“After participating in Greenpower, I have been able to participate in motorsport and engineering on a level which I did not think I would have been able to achieve otherwise. I have learned a lot about teamwork which has led to many other opportunities in STEM, hopefully allowing me to pursue an engineering based career.” –Lucy, 14 (Year 10)
“I joined CAUC in year 7 and during the years I’ve been in this team, I have gained invaluable knowledge and skills which have helped me decide on a career in the automotive industry. I wouldn’t have been able to reach this point in my life without the team and Greenpower” –Alex, 16 (Year 12)