A Class Like No Other


Black Diamond Motorsports prepares one of their cars to race.

John Ross and Jayson Galoski

If you walk into Mr. Gallant’s room during third period on any given day students will be working on RC cars or other engineering related projects. This is not all fun and games though. The students in the Engineering Projects class are preparing for the national finals of the Student Racing Challenge, which is scheduled for May 22, in Miami, Florida. The Student Racing Challenge is organized by New York based non-profit Ten80 Education and the US Army. The competition consists of modifying 1:10 scale RC cars to compete in various types of races against other teams from around the country. Just before winter vacation, all three teams from Ipswich High School found out they were invited to the national finals.

The third period engineering class has been up and running under Mr. Gallant’s supervision for five years now. During all five years the teams from Ipswich have been invited to nationals to compete. Nationals has been hosted in a different city each year, most recently, Charlotte NC in 2014 and Houston TX in 2015. For 2016, they will be hosted in Miami, FL. “There will be a lot to do in Miami. There will be a lot of interesting stuff”, acknowledged Mr. Gallant. Nationals allow all the teams that are invited to show their work thus far and compete for the national title. Even though teams are invited to nationals, “they still have to continue to make progress, and work on assigned projects everyday” stated Mr. Gallant, to ensure that teams are prepared for nationals.

There are many ways that teams can earn points at nationals against other teams. The main way is through road racing events and the drag race. Additionally, teams that are invited bring their engineering related projects, called Data Driven Design projects. Teams present their Data Driven Design project, along with some other assignments and a detailed analysis on their team. So far, each team member from Ipswich has been given an assigned job, which insures all three Ipswich teams are ready for this big challenge in May.

Mr. Gallant says that teams can be invited to nationals in two main ways. They either complete business-oriented assignments such as creating a website and social media pages and then submit to Ten80 online, or they win at a local race event.

Ipswich’s three teams, En Fuego Racing, Black Diamond Motorsports, and Turbo Clams Racing all participated at Ten80’s race in Lawrence back in October. En Fuego came in first place, guaranteeing them a spot in Miami. “Our mechanics were really on top of things” says Connor Fauske, one of En Fuego’s members. Other members of the team back this statement saying they all worked really hard to succeed in Lawrence.

Black Diamond Motorsports came in third overall in Lawrence and unfortunately was not guaranteed a trip to Miami. Chief mechanic Aaron DiNapoli says, “We worked hard in the beginning and earned a lot of points early on in the year.” Black Diamond Motorsports, along with Ipswich’s third team, Turbo Clams, was invited on December 23rd, as they were both in the top ten teams overall in terms of points. Mr. Gallant explained that points are earned when teams complete assignments and submit them to Ten80 to be graded. These assignments range from learning the mechanics of the car, to creating CAD drawings, and business and public relations assignments, such as creating a facebook page and website.

Ipswich’s third team, Turbo Clams is managed by junior Duncan Tolstrup. This is Duncan’s second year in the class. Although his team did not do as well as the other Ipswich teams in Lawrence,  they worked hard at gaining points through the online assignments, similar to Black Diamond, and are looking forward to Miami as well.

All three teams and Mr. Gallant are excited about their trip to Miami. You can support them by liking their Facebook Pages:

Black Diamond Motorsports: facebook.com/BDMIpswich

En Fuego Racing: facebook.com/enfuegoracing

Turbo Clams: facebook.com/turboclams

The teams know they have a lot of work to, but they are confident that with your help they can represent IHS well in May.

Aaron DiNapoli works on Black Diamond's car during Mr. Gallant's Engineering Projects Class.
Aaron DiNapoli works on Black Diamond’s car during Mr. Gallant’s Engineering Projects class.