Ron Dearing UTC students have secured their place in the national finals of a global Formula 1 racing-inspired competition.
Two teams from the employed-led school – Vortex Racing and Mach Racing – entered the F1 in Schools challenge, the world’s largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competition, for the first time this year.
Based on the official F1 model, the teams designed and manufactured their miniature cars using specialist computer software. They also developed their brand, time management and budgeting skills, built their social media presence and linked up with businesses to raise thousands of pounds in sponsorship for their teams.
The competition cars are powered by CO2 cartridges and are attached to a 25-metre track by a nylon wire and raced. They are timed by a computer from the moment they are launched to when they pass the finish line.
The regional finals of the competition were broadcast on YouTube on October 6 and 7, with the Ron Dearing UTC teams competing against 19 other schools across Yorkshire, the Humber and the East Midlands.
Vortex Racing were crowned the regional champions and will now compete in the national finals as part of the Autosport International Show at the NEC Birmingham from January 12 to 14, with the chance of qualifying for the world finals.
The team also posted the fastest race time overall in the Yorkshire and Humber region in the first day of the regional finals, with their car achieving 1.234 seconds from start to finish on the track.
The UTC’s Mach Racing team also won the Star Quality: Verbal Presentation Award for the region, which highlighted their ability to engage with the judges while describing their work.
Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal – Employer Engagement at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “The students have worked so hard and it’s fantastic to see their dedication recognised.
“To be crowned regional champions in the first year Ron Dearing UTC has entered the competition is an incredible achievement.
“This is testament to the time and effort they’ve put in and the amazing backing they’ve received from our employer partners other leading regional businesses.
“Well done to both Vortex Racing and Mach Racing. We’re looking to seeing how far Vortex can progress in the next stage of the competition in January.”
As part of their fundraising and networking efforts, both teams held a fundraising event at Porsche Centre Hull at the Bridgehead business park in Hessle earlier this year, which raised thousands of pounds towards offsetting the costs of each team and their potential participation at each level of the competition.
The event saw more than 100 invited guests meet the teams, listen to their pitches, race F1 in Schools-style cars and take part in a silent auction and raffle.
The teams pitched to potential sponsors, including representatives from the UTC’s employer partners, other leading businesses across the region and the students’ families and friends, about how their logos would be displayed and promoted on an international stage in the competition.
Year 11 student Zach Craig, 15, of Vortex Racing, said: “We’re over the moon with the performance of the team and our car during the regional event. The hard work has paid off and the knowledge we’ve gained will go a long way into our engineering careers.
“We couldn’t have achieved any of this without the amazing support from our sponsors. We’re looking forward to the national finals and can’t wait to make our sponsors and Ron Dearing UTC proud.”
The Vortex Racing sponsors are AJ Building Ltd; Rix Oil; Jupiter IT Support; Cool Hand Luke; Barak Forklifts; Tracy Westwood; G4 Design and Print; House of Townend; Pizza Mama; Influence Media and backers of the silent auction.
Year 13 student Mercy Macfarlane, 17, of Mach Racing, said: “It has been a fantastic opportunity to develop my communication skills and my design and manufacture abilities. We’re really proud to have won the award for best verbal presentation and would like to thank our sponsors for their continued support as we look towards next year’s race season.”
The Mach Racing sponsors are ARCO; Tommy Coyle; Siemens Gamesa; Sowden and Sowden; Autodesk and Dresses with Pockets.
Other Vortex Racing team members include Year 11 students Rhyse McCloud, Thomas Jimmeson and Keanu Mkhize, all 15, and Year 13 students Jack Macmillan and Kieran Thompson, both 17.
Mach Racing also include Year 13 student Jessica MacLachlan, 17.