Academy Racing, a team of four 15 – 17-year-old pupils from WMG Academy for Young Engineers in Coventry, were crowned F1 in Schools UK Champions 2017 at Silverstone yesterday. Their success won the team a place at this year’s F1 in Schools STEM Challenge World Finals that will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, two £5000 per year bursaries for a Mechanical Engineering degree course at UCL Engineering, a Denford Router to the value of £10,000 for their school and tickets for the 2017 Formula 1 British Grand Prix courtesy of Silverstone including an exclusive F1 paddock tour hosted by F1 in Schools.
The UK Champions were joined on the podium by second placed Tiro Racing from Kingston College, Kingston-upon-Thames, a team of apprentices who will represent England at the 13th World Finals, and third placed team, Unity from Emmanuel College, Gateshead, who have the opportunity to form an international collaboration team to compete at the Malaysia World Finals. The Team GB contingent for the World Finals is completed with the Scotland Champions, Volcan from Aberdeen Grammar School and Wales Champions, Falcon Force, from Ysgol Bryrefail.
17-year-old Eddie Hodierne, Team Manager for Academy Racing, led Elias Khimasia, 15, Callum Kennedy, 16 and Abi Hirons, 16 to victory.
"We’ve worked so hard for this, so it feels great to have won, but it was very unexpected,” said Eddie. “We have a mix of experience, with me having been to the Nationals three times, but never making it to the World Finals. We get along really well, we improved our presentations and I think that’s how we won. Persistence, giving up all our social time and total dedication to the competition has really paid off for us.”
Academy Racing were a front-runner after the Reaction Racing element of the competition when they broke the UK F1 in Schools track record, their car powering along the F1 in Schools 20 metre track in a time of 1.081 seconds, beating their own record of 1.126 seconds set last year. These efforts were rewarded with the Fastest Car Award supported by Denford Ltd. The team also showed they had nerves of steel winning the Knockout Racing Award supported by McLaren after beating Team Swarm, from Prince Henry’s Grammar School, Otley in the final of this exciting head to head racing action.
Earlier in the week the F1 in Schools UK Development Class Finals was fought by 11 teams, with Origin from Robert May’s School in Odiham, Hampshire, taking victory and winning through to the World Finals. All the students in the Development and Professional Classes rounded off their competition day with an experience of a lifetime, an exclusive Silverstone Grand Prix circuit track lap in their school minibuses led by former BBC Topgear STIG, Ben Collins, in a Ferrari 488 GTB supercar, courtesy of Ferrari.
Andrew Denford, Founder and Chairman of F1 in Schools, said: “Every year we see the teams raising their game, whether it’s the pit displays, the car designs or the portfolios. This year, for the first time, one of the teams, Unity, scored 100% across the board in their verbal presentation, so we’ve seen the standard reach perfection in that judging element. Academy Racing are well-deserved winners, having persevered for a few years and finally making it to the top step of the podium. All the students put a tremendous amount of work into the competition and have shown that there is plenty of engineering talent in the UK, ready to be guided into industry careers. The competition also gives students life skills and experiences that will always be beneficial for them and we’re proud to play a small part in their career paths and future success.”
F1 in Schools challenges students to create their own Formula 1 team which is commissioned to design, construct and race the fastest miniature Formula 1 Car of the Future; a 21cm long scale model built from a modelling block and powered by a compressed air cylinder. Each team of between three and six students creates a ‘pit’ display and showcases their work in developing their race car. At the National Finals each team brings along a pit display, their cars and portfolio, as well as having prepared a verbal presentation for the judges. The cars race on a 20 metre track, with the cars covering the distance in around one second.
The F1 in Schools National Finals take place with the assistance of a host of sponsors and supporters. These supporters include: Institution of Engineering and Technology, Autodesk, Denford Ltd, City, University of London, UCL Mechanical Engineering, University College London (UCL Mech Eng), Silverstone Circuit, Williams Racing, McLaren and Ferrari North Europe.
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