Two Year 13 students at Ron Dearing UTC have scooped first place and a string of further accolades in the Regional Finals of the F1 in Schools UK challenge, securing their place on the starting grid of the National Finals later this year.
Mach Racing, comprising of Jess MacLachlan and Mercy McFarlane, competed against various other schools from across the country at the National STEM Learning Centre in York as the latest season of the world’s largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competition got underway.
They were crowned overall Regional Champions, with their car reaching the end of the track in just 1.333 seconds. In addition, the team also won awards for Lightening Reaction Time, Pit Display, Team Identity and Sponsorship and Marketing in all classes.
Jess and Mercy also competed in the first round of last year’s Formula 1-inspired competition and won the Star Quality: Verbal Presentation Award.
It is the second consecutive year a Ron Dearing UTC team has taken the top spot in the Regional Finals of the competition. The UTC’s Vortex Racing team won first place last year and went on to compete in the National Finals.
Jess and Mercy were accompanied at this year’s Regional Finals by Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal – Employer Engagement at Ron Dearing UTC, Cieran Dowling, Ron Dearing UTC’s F1 in Schools Coordinator, and Laura Wiles, a member of the school’s Sixth Form Pastoral team.
Jess said: “It feels amazing to win. This journey has been tough but it was all worth it in the end.
“To finally pick up that number one trophy felt fantastic. F1 in Schools has taught us so much and we wanted to give up many times but we’re thankful we persevered.”
Mercy said: “Winning the F1 in Schools Regional Finals was an amazing feeling, proving that dedication and hard work was worth it. It also feels great knowing we have influenced many young students along the way.
“Throughout the competition I’ve become more confident in myself and with public speaking, as well as becoming a better engineer and critical thinker.”
The F1 in Schools challenge sees more than one million schoolchildren from 40 countries take part each year. Each team designs and manufactures and miniature car based on the official F1 model using Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM).
The cars are powered using CO₂ cartridges and are attached to a 25m track by a nylon wire and raced. The teams also design their own branding and logos, plan social media and marketing strategies to promote themselves, deliver presentations and raise sponsorship for their teams.
Glenn said: “This is an absolutely fantastic achievement for Mach Racing. Not only are they the regional winners but they also picked up awards for the hard work they’ve put in over the last two years.
“We’re extremely proud that two of our aspiring young female engineers have been able to achieve this and we can’t wait for the National Finals later this year. We’re very proud of Jess and Mercy and they should be very proud of themselves too.”