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School project to build Caterham ends at Top Gear track

Forget your typical school project ─ how about building a car you can use against The Stig?

As fun as making paper cigarettes, hiding under the table and dissecting a mouse was, we wish we had been as lucky as pupils from Millfield in Somerset. The school has a Caterham Car Club that involves giving a select few the chance to build an actual car from scratch.

Ten young minds hoping to get into engineering are tasked with turning 17 cardboard boxes of parts, a Caterham Seven Roadsport 125 chassis and engine into a £20,000 working car. With the help of a 221-page instruction manual, of course.

Work reportedly begins in September. Caterham Car Club members then have a school year to build the car. Upon completion, each pupil this year – aged between 13 and 18 years – was given the chance to take the Caterham Roadsport 125 kit car in Azure Blue around the Top Gear track in Dunsfold, Surrey.

“Engaging students in projects like the Caterham build not only motivates students to gain insight into the industry, it also caters for those students who prefer the practicality of learning. In a team work environment, it gives the students a real understanding of the skills needed in their future roles and makes the traditional subjects, like Maths and Science, more popular and valuable,” Millfield head of physics Simon Houghton commented.

The 19 pupils, staff and parents who attended the event also got the chance to go for a spin in a Ferrari 458, 1951 Frazes Nash Le Mans and Dunsfold Park kit car. Sadly Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond were nowhere to be seen.

Other Millfield extra curricular activities include clay pigeon shooting, falconry and scuba diving. We’ll stick to building a car to embarrass The Stig, thanks.

Before you ring up Millfield hoping for a cheap second-hand Caterham, you should know Caterham sends out a brand new kit every year, presumably when the now fully-assembled car is returned. Big kids can instead go for the cheapest Caterham ever, the Seven 160.

Other schools can contact Caterham if they wish to partake in the ‘Sevens for Schools’ on 01883 333700. Currently there are 14 UK schools involved in the scheme.

Caterham is based in Sussex and not Somerset, unlike fellow car manufacturer and rival Ariel, which recently unveiled a return to motorbikes.

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