Ross Brawn, team principal at Mercedes GP Petronas, has launched the world's largest student motor sport event.
Formula Student, run by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, challenges university students to design, build and race single seat racing cars.
The competition at Silverstone features 125 teams from 34 different countries.
Mr Brawn said: "Formula Student really shows why engineering is such an exciting, dynamic subject to get involved in."
The cars are judged on their speed, acceleration, handling and endurance.
The teams are also tested on their design, costing and business presentation skills.
The event at Silverstone runs over the weekend until 17 July.
Richard Folkson, a chief judge said: It's a fantastic proving ground for students to learn their skills and racing teams value their experience.
This first Palestinian team from the Gaza Strip is due to compete in 2011. The students are from the Khan Younis Training Centre, which is an education centre run by the UN. They have built a car using almost entirely recycled parts.
There are also teams from Nigeria, Russia, Thailand and Italy.