Formula High school

Where students are "Racing to Learn"


Kids of today! What's wrong with them? They wear their pants so low that you can see their underwear! All they do is play video games, listen to music on those darn MP3 players, or they're texting on a mobile phone. None of them could change the oil on their parent's car let only build one. Sound familiar? Well, don't tell that to the students involved in Formula High School. Formula High School is the idea of Mike Besel and Jeremie Meyer, high school Technology & Engineering instructors from Wisconsin, USA. These two instructors wanted to develop a program where teams of students would build a replica race vehicle in 8 months and then test it at the track.

It was introduced into Australia by Formula Student, a RTO based in Brisbane Queensland that wanted to bring this innovative and exciting learning experience to Australian High School Students.

For the original program in Wisconsin the students choose a brand new Formula First racer, built by Sugar Grove Custom Cars as their
model. A Formula First racecar is a single seat, open wheel style racecar, utilizing a VW engine, transmission and front beam suspension. Jim Woodsmall, owner of SGCC, was gracious enough to help out this new program. The actual molds used to build the body panels for his Mysterian M5 were brought to Green Bay, WI. Here, under the direction of a local fiberglass company, the teams of students learned how to lay up a fiberglass body. Yep, those same students who might look like they badly need a set of suspenders rolled up their shirtsleeves and learned how to lay in fiberglass mat and resin. Once the bodies were removed from the molds, the students were responsible for trimming and fitting the panels to the chassis.

The chassis for these vehicles are also based on the original. Students received a 3D computer model of the main cockpit section of the chassis. This ensured proper placement of roll bars and bracing so the vehicles were safe. The students then used computer-modeling software to design the rest of their chassis. Students had to incorporate engineering and manufacturing techniques learned in class to construct their vehicles. Now that's a real world test! To closely match the original racecar, the students were also required to use VW spindles and brakes. This allowed the students to also include a steel wheel and tire assembly that mimicked the road racing tires used on the Formula First vehicles.

To keep costs down, the students were limited to a 16 HP v-twin engine. The same engine used on your typical larger ride-on mower. Transmissions were kept simple: a chain driven centrifugal clutch on the engine to a solid axle rear. With this drive-train set-up, the typical speeds reached were kept under 50 MPH on the track.

The last test for the students was the first annual Formula High School track day, held on April 27, 2009 at the Blain's Farm and Fleet Motorplex. The Motorplex is located on the grounds of Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. If you haven't heard of Road America, it's the nations largest road track in the US. It's a world-class facility. The students were allowed on the Motorplex track, one at time, to see who could set the lowest lap time. Teams were required to have at least three different drivers. The average of the lowest times of three different drivers was used to calculate the "winner”. What did they win: the bragging rights for that year. The teams also had to repair any issues at the track on their own. No more teacher help. Time to stand on their own two feet.
Overall the program was a great success.

From this success the program grew and is now contested by numerous schools with multiple classes. The original vehicle has now evolved into the FHS Prototype vehicle. This vehicle was originally developed by Dennis Palatov from as the DP1. This was a worldwide hit as a LMP (Le Mans Prototype) vehicle with a build log followed by thousands around the world as he developed this exciting vehicle.

Fast forward to recent times and Greig Frankham, a director at Formula Student, saw the potential in using a motorsport platform to engage students. Having a motorsport engineering background, Greig quickly jumped on the idea to bring this exciting form of education to Australia. Contact was made with Jeremie, an extremely ethusiastic and helpful founder of the formula, and it has now been developed in Australia for Australian students.

The program in Australia is an innovative way to deliver the MEM20413 Certificate II in Engineering Pathways to High school students. The staff at Formula Student were looking for a learning program that delivered a work like experience for the student and what better way to achieve this than with a Qualification that was developed by industry for industry. 

Like the US counterparts, Formula Student recognises that the program is really about learning Engineering Skills and not motorsport. With this in mind and being aware of how nervous some school administrators might be about students strapping themselves into a 400hp race car, the Australian vehicle also uses a 20.5 hp engine. The engine of choice is a 670cc V-Twin Kohler engine . This is coupled to a CVT(Constant Velocity transmission) which is chain driven to the rear axle assembly. The Australian designed chassis incorporates pushrod activated independent suspension for all for wheels acting on reservoir  shock absorbers. The body is the same LMP(Le Mans Prototype) body the US teams run.

RACERS, the leading motorsport regulator in Australia is supportive of the program, and prior to a vehicle being run in competition the vehicle must pass a technical inspection and be "logbooked" as a RACERS race vehicle. The end of year event is sanctioned by RACERS.

If you're a teacher at a High School, can see the obvious benefits of this engaging real world mode of education, and you would like more information you can contact the staff at Formula Student to discuss your interest by clicking the contact us tab at the top of the screen. We look forward to talking to you about this exciting program.

If you're a student at a high school, and want to be a part of this exciting program, talk to your teacher about it, direct him/her to visit, or even send us an email, tell us a bit about yourself and why you and your friends want to be part of the Formula High School program in Australia. Send us an email from the contact us tab at the top of the page so we can assist you in discussing this program with your teachers and teaching staff. We believe in the program and are here to help.


My only question is why didn't they have something like this when I was in school?

The Formula Pre-Vocationl program is built around the MEM20413 Certificate II in Engineering Pathways.

This qualification is designed by industry as a Prevocation Qualification and is ideal for the Formula Pre-Vocationl program, allowing students to study the MEM20413 Certificate II in Engineering Pathways while engaged by exciting and fulfilling course work.

Click the button below to be taken to the MEM20413 Certificate II in Engineering Pathways page to find out more about this qualification. this link will open in a new tab.

Take me to the MEM20413 Certificate II in Engineering Pathways page

Formula Student has a philosophy of delivering training that prepares a student for work, so programs such as Formula High School, Formula Pre-Vocation and others develop the learning while untertaking work like practices in a work like environment.

The this end, both the training and the assessment are carried out while undertaking simulated workshop tasks or jobs. As much as possible both the Skills and the Knowledge components of the learning, commonly called practical and theory components, are carried out in the workshop, on the job.

Our training for the MEM20413 Certificate II in Engineering Pathways utilises MRP(Manufacturing Resource Planning) software which allows tasks to be allocated to students and for the logging on and off by the student for the different work areas and equipment used.


Students are instructed by the trainers and/or carry out blended learning utilising video instruction to gain an understanding of the task and what is required as an outcome. 

The student is assigned a job card and drawing to instruct them on what it is they are required to manufacture, and the steps required to achieve the outcome. The component manufacture is broken down within the jobcard into the various step by step work tasks such as mechanical cutting, linishing, handtools/power tools, pedestal drilling, welding etc. 

This step by step process breaks a finished task down into the steps or stages to manufacture it and the student clocks on to each stage of the job card, just like in a real manufacturing workshop. The final stage or step on the jobcard is the trainer sign-off. The student inputs into the MRP software how many units he/she manufactured and the teacher signs off those components as satisfactory once they are manufactured and meet the tolerances and specification required on the drawing.


Assessment is carried out in a formative manner, taking into account the clustered nature of the training and assessment. Trainers utilise the latest in technology with the Formula Student proprietary mobile device observational assessment system.

This system allows the trainer to monitor and assess observable behaviours displayed by the student live while the student is carrying out tasks. The system is integrated with the MRP software and follows the jobcard and the student as they progress through their work instructions. The observable behaviours are mapped in the background to performance criteria for the UoC. Each observable behaviour is generally mapped to multiple UoC performance criteria across a range of UoC. 

Students are observed and assessed progressively and over time.

For a student to be assessed as competent in a unit of competency, they must be assessed over time on multiple occasions for each of the Performance Criteria within a UoC. This mapping is carried out by the Formula Student proprietary mobile device observational assessment system. Once the system determines that a student has been determined satisfactory for each Performance Criteria through observable behaviour assessment from the teacher and questioning either by the trainer or through assessment quizzes through the LMS(Learning management System) component of the Formula Student proprietary mobile device observational assessment system , the system will then flag the staff at Formula Student that the student has satisfactorily achieved the required criteria for a competent result in that UoC and is ready to be signed off. 

Students have multiple opportunities for assessment due to the formative nature of assessment. If however it is deemed that the student has had multiple opportunities and is still not able to achieve competency, then the student is determined to be Not Competent. For more information on multiple attempts refer to the student handbook here


Enrolling in a Formula Student program is a simple two step procedure.

1/ Become a student by clicking the "Become a Student" button on the top of the page

2/ Once you are a student, you can enrol in a class by logging in first and then clicking the enrol in a course button. Upon becoming a student you can go straight into the enrolment area.

Depending on which course you are enrolling in and if you are accessing Govt Funding such as VETiS Funding for example, you may need to provide additional information such as copies of previously awarded Certificates or Visa category information. Formula Student may require this information along with other information to ascertain if you qualify for the funding you are utilising for your enrolment

Course Duration

There are currently two main modes of study for the Formula High School™ program in schools. The course duration will vary depending on timetabling at the various schools.
Generally, if a school timetables one full day per week for VET classes, then the program will run over 1 year.
If the school timetables over three periods, even if two of those periods are joined, the course will generally run over 2 years, years 11 and 12.
For more information go to the contact us tab at the top of the screen and send us an email. We're waiting to here from you.

Course inclusions

The following are included in the course fee:

A comprehensive range of workshop hand tools are made available to students for use throughout the course.

A comprehensive range of air and power tools are made available to students for use  throughout the course.

A comprehensive range of fabrication equipment is made available to students for use  throughout the course.

Automatic welding helmets are made available for student use when welding.

Access to welding bays and individual welding machines where required.

Work benches for project work are made available for student use.

Consumables required for project work and general learning of skills during set classes.

Access to course learning material such as workbooks, textbooks, charts and other informative items.

What students need to supply

While we try and cover all items required during the learning and assessment, there are some items students will be required to supply and bring to class.

The first and most important are PPE items. PPE stands for "Personal Protective Equipment".

Students will also be required to supply their own stationery.

Student will need to provide the following:


Long sleeve shirt.

This item is required during any class that involves welding. It must be made from a non-flammable material and it is highly recommended that students purchase a known brand high-visibility style workshirt.

Long pants.

Students are encouraged to wear long pants during all activities, however shorts are OK in hand tools environments. Long trousers are compulsory however when students are involved in activities that require welding to prevent burns due to the range of rays emitted from the welding source, along with radiated heat and sparks.

Protective footwear.

Engineering workplaces and practices require steel capped footwear to be worn during practical activities or while walking in practical based areas and the learning environment is no different. Students are required to have steel capped work boots or shoes to be able to enter the workshop. As the majority of our practical AND theoretical learning takes place in the workshop it will be rare that students won't be required to wear steel capped work shoes/boots.

Protective eye wear/safety glasses.

As with protective footwear, protective eyewear is a standard item when entering engineering workshops. Students are required to provide some form of eye wear/safety glasses that conforms to current Australian Standards. this could be in the form of safety glasses or a faceshield for those that wear prescription glasses. It is the students responsibility to provide suitable protective eyewear.

**Students will need to supply the preceeding items and wear them during all workshop sessions. Students who arrive at a workshop session without all of the required PPE (as listed on this page), for the student's safety and the safety of others, the student may not be permitted entry to the workshop to participate in the session.



Students are required to provide a range of day to day stationery such as pens, pencils, ruler, notebook and other items that they would generally be expected to bring to any other form of theoretical class.

Computer Equipment.

Students are required to provide a laptop suitable for the operation of software such as SolidWorks and/or AutoDesk Inventor. Computer requirements are listed on the websites for those software packages. Formula Student will provide a link to for students to download the Student edition versions of AutoDesk Inventor to students who do not already have either of the nominated software packages.
Students will also be required to access dropbox during class and therefore will require mobile internet to access the internet while at the workshop. This can be via mobile phone hot-spotting or other means, however Formula Student does not provide internet access for students.
For further computer information go to the contact us link at the top of the screen and send us an email to discuss any question you may have.

Course pricing

    • The Formula High School program is run under VETiS (VET in Schools) in Queensland and is available fee free for VETiS eligible students studying for the MEM20413-Certificate II in Engineering Pathways, which is funded by the QLD Goverment. For VETiS ineligible students the fee is $4170.00, and we will negotiate a payment plan on a case by case basis as outlined in the student handbook.  There may also be some costs associated such as but not limited to PPE and costs involved in the end of year motorsport carnival which is a non-compulsory component of the program and not part of the funded course.

Click here to be taken to the VETis information page on the QLD Government website

    • Students enrol in all units of competency at the same time due to the clustered nature of the program .
    • Go to the Course Inclusions tab to see what this course includes.
    • Go to the What students need to supply tab to see what students need to bring to this course.
    • This course includes the following 12 units of competency. For further information on the units of competency, go to the button at the bottom of the screen to be taken to the MEM20413 Certificate II in Engineering Pathways page.

MEM13014A - Apply principles of occupational health and safety in the work environment

MEMPE005A - Develop a career plan for the engineering and manufacturing industry

MEMPE006A - Undertake a basic engineering project

MSAENV272B - Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices

MEM16006A - Organise and communicate information

MEM16008A - Interact with computing technology

MEM18001C - Use hand tools

MEM18002B - Use power tools/hand held operations

MEMPE001A - Use engineering workshop machines

MEMPE002A - Use electric welding machines

MEMPE004A - Use fabrication equipment

MSAPMSUP106A - Work in a team

Click here to be take to the MEM20413 Certificate II in Engineering Pathways page

Course entry requirements


No units of competency within the qualification have pre-requisites.


Students who have completed at least year 9 in Queensland should have the level of language, literacy and numeracy skills to successfully undertake this course.


Course content is designed to provide direct relevance to the work-related vocabulary, reading, writing and numeracy they are being asked to learn.


Prior to or upon enrolment or at any time during the course, a student may request their language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) skills be assessed to confirm their LLN skills are at the level required for the course (or individual units). In addition, trainers and assessors may request a student undertake an LLN assessment at any time during the course of their studies if the trainer and assessor thinks the student may be experiencing difficulty with the requirements of the course.


For more information about LLN assessment and support, click on the Student Support tab at the top of the site or the link to the Student Handbook.


Training can take place in our workshops or alternatively at the school utilising the school equipment.

In some cases students will attend another school due to the availablity of equipment.

For further information regarding where you will join our Formula Student program to undertake study in the MEM20413 Certificate II in Engineering Pathways, feel free to email us from our contact page.

At the end of each year, Formula Student holds an event for eligible students to compete with their completed vehicles.

 Further information to come