Ron Dearing UTC students are preparing to go head-to-head with peers across the region and beyond in a competition inspired by Formula 1.
The F1 in Schools challenge is the world’s largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competition with more than a million schoolchildren in 40 countries taking part every year.
Each team designs and manufactures a 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 25-metre track by a nylon wire and raced, with teams competing at regional, national and international level, depending on their success.
This is the first time Ron Dearing UTC students have entered the competition, with 17 Year 10 and Year 12 students from the employer-led school taking part in four teams. The participants have created logos, designed their uniforms and planned social media and marketing strategies to promote themselves before designing and manufacturing their cars.
They also have to gain sponsorship from businesses, give a presentation on their work to a panel of expert judges from F1, manufacturing and engineering backgrounds, and create a pit display stand to promote their team.
Speed is a major factor in determining winning teams, as well as other criteria such as timing, innovative thinking and the specification of each team’s car.
The students recently visited Porsche Centre Hull at the Bridgehead business park in Hessle for a behind-the-scenes tour of the workshop, showroom, valet bay and state-of-the-art technology used to give customers the best possible service. They also met the Porsche Centre team, including staff who shared their career journeys with the students.
Simon Edwards, Teacher of Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, who is leading the challenge on behalf of the school, is no stranger to success in F1 in Schools.
He previously taught in the Bahamas and United States and his students won the state championship of the competition in Illinois in 2018 and 2019, before winning the American national title last year.
Simon said: “Teamwork, delegation and accountability play a huge part in this challenge. It’s a great opportunity for the team members to grow in confidence, as they speak to so many people at various levels in industry throughout the challenge, and I have very high hopes for our students.
“The F1 in Schools challenge is taken very seriously because so many high level businesses and individuals in industry get involved. The British Williams F1 motor racing team even offers apprenticeships to some winners.
“I’d like to thank everyone at the Porsche Centre for being so accommodating and making us all so welcome during the visit.”
The challenge is part of Ron Dearing UTC’s extensive Enrichment Programme, which offers a host of opportunities for students to embrace an extra interest, such as cookery, theatre, learning a new language, music and more.
Due to Covid restrictions, the regional finals of the competition will take place online and teams will send their cars to the F1 in Schools organisers to race on their behalf, with the races available to watch on YouTube. If restrictions allow, the national finals will take place at Silverstone, the home of British racing, before the international finals which will take place in a location yet to be decided.
Sarah Hiles, Showroom Manager at Porsche Centre Hull, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome the Ron Dearing UTC students and they were all so enthusiastic.
“We believe it’s really important to invest in young people. We’re delighted to have been able to offer this experience.”
Ron Dearing’s UTC’s teams – Delta, Vortex, Overflow and Mach Racing – include students who bring various individual strengths to their groups and have chosen areas to specialise in, such as marketing, design or engineering.
Year 10 student Sandis Logins, 15, who is part of the Delta Racing team, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us and it was amazing to visit the Porsche showroom. It’s my favourite car brand and I really enjoyed the day.
“It’s fantastic to be part of the F1 in Schools challenge and I hope we make it to the finals.”
Year 12 student Mercy McFarlane, 16, who is part of the Mach Racing team, said: “Visiting the Porsche showroom was inspiring. There is a lot of flying and travelling in the motorsport industry, which is why we want to look at sustainability as part of our team.”
The students will hold a fundraising event at the Porsche Centre in Hessle on March 17th when invited guests will be able to support the teams in raising money towards uniforms, materials for the cars and other costs factored into their overall team budgets.
Any businesses who would like to support the students in the challenge, or attend the event, are asked to email Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal and Head of Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, here.