The Challenge is an educational initiative which has engaged more than 100,000 young people since it was launched in the UK in 2007. Last year, the Challenge was rolled out to 15 countries around the world.
Teams spend months designing, building and testing miniature remote-controlled 4x4 vehicles which must complete challenging off-road tracks in regional and national final competitions. National champions from as far afield as Australia, United Arab Emirates and Brazil came together for the first ever World Final.
A new Virgin Galactic towing challenge was also unveiled at the final. Students had to tow a scale version of SpaceShipTwo around Spaceport America, Virgin Galactic's operational headquarters in New Mexico, USA, using their remote controlled vehicles.
The 'Vertical Horizon' team impressed the judges and achieved an excellent driving challenge on the tough test track, which included a rope bridge, water dip and rock crawl as it travelled through and round a Range Rover vehicle.
'Vertical Horizon' team manager Ben Weaver, said, ‘I'm delighted we won, it's beyond anything we dreamed of. I think we were successful thanks to 1,000 hours of hard graft, team work and perseverance as well as attention to detail. We also developed a unique suspension and focused on quality craftsmanship, engineering and design throughout the project.’
Les Ratcliffe, Head of Community Relations for Jaguar Land Rover said, ‘We're delighted to host the first ever world finals in Coventry, UK, close to Jaguar Land Rover's Headquarters, and show the students around our Solihull plant during the programme. Launching the hugely successful Land Rover 4x4 in Schools competition globally will introduce even more young people to the exciting world of engineering. Students have built skills, experiences, friendships and memories during the three day programme which will stay with them throughout their lives.’
The 'Vertical Horizon' team won an Arkwright scholarship from Land Rover, a £1000 scholarship for Harper Adams University and a Land Rover 4x4 in Schools Technology World Challenge trophy. They also picked up 'Best Engineered Vehicle' and 'Best Verbal Presentation' awards.
A total of 16 awards were presented, rewarding the hard work and high standards of work produced by the teams of students. Team 'Clystalians' from Clyst Vale Community College, Broadclyst, Exeter, came a close second followed by 'Wombat Warriors' from Pine Rivers State High School, Brisbane, Australia in third place.
Teams from Greece, Australia, Portugal, UAE, Czech Republic and UK also collected awards for their achievements in key elements of the judging process.