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Panteras Racing Wins F1 in Schools National Championship

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The Panteras Racing Team


Panteras Racing from the Universidad Panamericana Preparatoria in Mexico City, has won the 2016 F1® in Schools Mexico National Championship. The team of six high school students beat out 18 other teams to take the National Title, earning a chance to compete at the World Finals during the US Formula 1 Grand Prix in Austin, Texas on October 14 – 23.

This was the first year that the F1® in Schools competition has taken place in Mexico, making it one of the more than 40 countries now involved in the engineering competition.

In the event, student teams comprising of 3-6 students ages 9-19 are commissioned to design, construct, and race a compressed air powered F1™ Car of the Future. This model sized car is made from a block of balsa wood and is manufactured using a CNC machine. During the competition, the cars race on a 20 meter track, with the cars covering the distance in just around one second.

In addition to designing, constructing, and racing their cars, the student teams must develop a business plan, manage social networking, find sponsors, and put together a portfolio of work to present to a judging panel with a verbal and written presentation to support their model car.

Not missing a beat, when the  F1® in Schools in Mexico competition was announced, “We were the first team to officially register,” says Mario Zarate, Panteras Racing’s design engineer.

The team knew that there was a lot of work to be done. They started researching car aerodynamics as well as learning about CAD modeling techniques and wind tunnel simulations.

“We found SimScale because we needed a powerful computing environment so we googled for cloud-based tools and discovered SimScale. It has worked very well for us so we are using it now for all of our simulations”

Using information from the SimScale F1 Workshop provided a foundation for understanding the aerodynamics of their own design – with one big caveat says Mario, “The principles and aerodynamics of a real F1 car and the F1 car that we are making are quite different. For example, a F1 car uses downforce which helps it to make faster turns but our car only travels on a short track in a straight line so we didn’t need any of this downforce we actually needed to reduce it completely.”

F1 model

With the World Championship looming ahead, the team has been using their summer vacation to do a lot more testing and simulations to validate their final car design. “We are planning to do simulations part-by-part with all of the features we have which means about 10-20 more simulations. We need those simulations to really validate our design for the World Finals,” says Mario.

We wish the Panteras Racing Team the best of luck at the World Championships!


F1® in Schools is a global multi-disciplinary challenge supported by the Formula One™ community in which students from the ages of 9 to 19 deploy CAD/CAE software to collaborate, design, analyze, manufacture, test, and ultimately race miniature balsa wood  F1 cars. The program inspires students to learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacturing, branding, graphics, sponsorship, marketing, leadership/teamwork, media skills, and financial strategy, applying them in a practical, imaginative, competitive, and exciting way.


With more than 30 years of engineering experience in the automotive industry, Carlsson Autotechnik GmbH provides engineering services for companies like Mercedes-Benz, Citroen, Peugeot, Honda, Toyota and SsangYoung. This case study shows how the engineers from Carlsson used SimScale to test the aerodynamics behavior of their sports car.

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