US Grand Prix comes to town

A karting initiative championed by Prince Harry has teamed up with motorsport experts in America to bring their first electric grand prix to Wigan.

Tuesday, 16th January 2018, 10:56 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th January 2018, 12:00 pm
Fred Longworth high school

Danny White, from Purdue University near Indianapolis, has been touring the borough, at the invitation of The Blair Project, to drum up support for the pioneering race at Three Sisters.

The winning young drivers and their team will qualify for the world finals in Indiana in May, as part of the world-famous Indy Races.

Prince Harry, who toured the Pemberton-based scheme in 2015, has been praised for bringing The Blair Project in contact with the evGrand Prix partnership.

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Prince Harry at the Blair Project

Students at Newbridge Learning Community and Fred Longworth High in Tyldesley are among those taking part in the race for the States.

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.”

For the grand prix six electric kart drivers, supported by their own race teams, will line up on the grid, after Easter.

Two 50-lap segments will be undertaken, with a mandatory “pit stop” for a change of battery and any modifications or enhancements.

Prince Harry at the Blair Project

While the karts are capable of greater acceleration than their petrol alternatives, they will be restricted to 35mph for safety reasons.

Judges will be scoring the drivers on a combination of race performance, energy efficiency, engineering design and community outreach.

The motorsport department at Purdue learned about The Blair Project as a result of Prince Harry’s visit to their base at the DigiFutures training facility at Central Park.

Teams of students had been set the challenge of designing, building and racing their own 3D printed karts at Three Sisters.

Nile Henry, the 22-year-old founder of the project, 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.”

Those interested in helping can email Dr Marilyn Comrie at [email protected]