Newport pupils, with the Cambridge University solar car. Student Megan Ledicott is in the driving seat and the racing car team leader, former Ryde School pupil Keno Mario-Ghae, front right. Picture by Peter Boam.
A UNIVERSITY team headed by a former Ryde School student — which is taking solar power engineering to the next level — brought its latest car to the Isle of Wight.
The team which has set its sights on competing in the World Solar Challenge in Australia in a year’s time, spent four days here.
At just 20, Keno Mario-Ghae is the youngest Cambridge University Eco Racing team manager in its history.
He returned to the Island on Wednesday last week where, at the Island Innovation Trust sixth form, he and his team hosted three days of engineering challenges.
On Friday, last week, Keno and two other team members returned to the school he left last year to give a presentation on the project that has produced the most successful solar car in the UK.
At the Newport sixth form college, more than 120 students aged between 11 and 17 from Island secondary schools and colleges, created paper bridges and spaghetti towers and built miniature solar-powered kit cars.
The following day, in St James’s Square, Newport, the team promoted its new Name on Car scheme, designed to attract vital private sponsorship. In return, donors play an active part in the challenge.
The team was delighted at the response from hundreds of visitors to the car in the square.
Keno said: "Taking part in outreach is the other half of designing and building a solar racing vehicle.
"Getting the chance to get the public interested in what we do is as important to us as getting a car made in the first place.
"Without public backing, as well as financial help from our sponsors, we would have no chance to build the vehicles we do and send them across the world to race them.
"The public also had the chance to back one of the best solar-powered cars ever made."
The visit to the Island was in partnership with Ecoisland, ARM and Jaguar Land-Rover.