Students experience once-in-a-lifetime visit to Aston Martin headquarters

Two Ron Dearing UTC students with a passion for engineering were inspired during a dream VIP experience day at Aston Martin’s state-of-the-art headquarters.

Year 13 students Heidi Porter and Jasper Gourley were invited by the luxury British sports car manufacturer to spend a day at the company’s Coventry base, learning everything from how the cars are designed to viewing the latest prototypes.

They met one of Aston Martin’s head designers and found out how the cars are made.

Heidi and Jasper were chosen following their involvement in the F1 in Schools UK Challenge, the world’s largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competition. Ron Dearing UTC students are competing in the competition for the third consecutive year.

It comes after the UTC’s Vortex Racing team won first place in the Regional Finals of the competition in 2021 and two former Year 13 students, Jess MacLachlan and Mercy McFarlane, scooped first place and a string of further accolades in the Regional Finals last year.

Heidi Porter and Jasper Gourley at the Aston Martin headquarters.


Jasper, 17, who is studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, has taken on a finance role within in the F1 in Schools UK challenge.

He said: “It was a dream come true to see all the nice cars in such a modern factory.

“We were allowed to sit in them and we were taken around the design area where we saw how the cars are made. They design them as small clay models at first before they eventually become the finished product.

“We saw how they wrap the cars, which is designed to simulate paint, and it looked so shiny.

“I’d like to be a Formula 1 engineer who designs cars around aerodynamics in the future, which draws on my maths and physics interests, and this has inspired me even more.”

The F1 in Schools challenge sees more than one million schoolchildren from 40 countries take part each 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).

Cars on display at the Aston Martin headquarters.


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.

The Regional Finals will take place in March.

Heidi, 17, who is studying Triple Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, is a team leader and manufacturing engineer in the F1 in Schools UK challenge.

She said: “It was an overwhelming experience and brilliant to see the Aston Martin cars, as well as the prototypes for the next generation of cars.

“It was great to see how a big company like this works behind the scenes and I found it very interesting.”

Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal for Employer Engagement, said: “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Heidi and Jasper to see the iconic brand of Aston Martin in action, from design to prototype.

“They were given a real insight into how the industry works and visited the design office. It’s a day that will stay with them for years to come as they begin to think about their next steps and future careers.”