Gaza students defy blockade to race home-made car at Silverstone

Students from the Gaza Strip have made a race car almost entirely from recycled parts to compete in a competition at Silverstone.

Using old water pipes for the chassis and an engine salvaged from a motorbike, the engineering students from the UN-run Khan Younis Training College aim to take part in the Formula Student event from 14-17 July.
The entries - which this year total more than 125 cars - are judged on design, cost and business presentation as well as their ability in sprint, skid-pan, acceleration and endurance challenges. Formula 1's Ross Brawn is patron of the competition.

The Gaza Strip team has had to grapple with a five-year Israeli blockade on their territory which has forced them to build their car from recycled parts.

We are challenging all the pressures here, and the blockade," said Osama Al Othmani, 19, the KYTC team leader.

"We want to prove to the world that even if we are living on nothing, we can still create something from it. The last thing we will do is stick on the label which says 'Made in Gaza'."

Dr Colin Brown, director of engineering at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which runs the competition, added: "It really is inspirational to see a team working so hard with the odds stacked against them like this. Formula Student is a massive challenge in its own right, but to be working with almost entirely recycled parts in one of the most deprived areas in the world is remarkable.

"These students epitomise the spirit and inventiveness of those who take part in Formula Student."

Most of the other teams at the Formula Student event attract big name sponsors and can look forward to a career in Formula 1. However, the prospects for the KYTC team are bleak. Most live on less than £2 a day and will be lucky to become garage mechanics, earning a maximum of £200 a month.

But, despite this, the team has been working around the clock to ensure their car is ready.

"They have taken no rest we don't have that much time," said Dr Ghassan Abu Orf, the team's supervisor. "We have to stick to the deadline, and have to be in the UK on time for the competition."

The competing cars can go from 0-60mph in less than three seconds, with an engine of anything up to 610cc in size. The challenge rewards cars for their sustainability and fuel efficiency as much as performance, meaning electric or other alternative fuels can compete.

You can find out how the KYTC team get on by following the competition at Formula Student.
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