F1 in SchoolsF1 in SchoolsF1 in SchoolsF1 in Schools

F1 in Schools

In 2017, Centurion Racing from Rishworth School became the first F1 in Schools team from West Yorkshire to reach the national finals of the competition. In the 2017-18 season, the team were back, determined to improve on the success of the previous year.

F1 in Schools is an initiative set up in 2000, issuing a fun and exciting challenge to the young engineers of the future. Tasked with designing and building a miniature racing car to exacting technical regulations, teams must also market their teams and create a “brand identity”. The aim is to create as little drag as possible from the lightest legal design; to perform best in straight-line racing. All team funds must be raised through sponsorship, either through financial support or in the form of useful industry expertise. For teams able to commit to this ambitious task, there is the opportunity to race their cars against other teams, potentially from across 40 countries at the World Finals. As well as the quality of engineering displayed by a lightning-fast vehicle, teams will be assessed on their entrepreneurial achievements, pit display and a set of two ten-page design and enterprise portfolios; showcasing the work of many months which precedes competition.


Centurion Racing came into being in 2015 and competed for the first time in the 16/17 season. Aided by an impressive array of predominantly local sponsors, they were the highest placed debut team at the national finals; held at Silverstone over two days in March. Their final placing of 18th of 30 teams was highly commended, as was their nomination for the Sponsorship and Marketing Award. A fantastic experience, including a lap of the iconic circuit in the school minibus and chance to meet former BBC Top Gear “Stig” Ben Collins, the team were determined to return and indeed to press on to the tantalising prospect of international competition.


This year, the original team of four: Laurence Vines (16), Max Pendlebury (16), Dominic Friedrich (16) and Grant Torrington (17) have been bolstered by the addition of two new members; Erica Essel (15) and Lara Quinn Beaumont (15). Centurion Racing have been faithfully supported and mentored since their inception by members of school staff and have since formed a team of students from younger down the school; with a view to forging an F1 in Schools legacy at Rishworth.


On Friday 2nd February 2018, the new-look Centurion Racing, armed with a lighter, sleeker design and the vital experience of the previous year, competed in the Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Finals. The journey to the National STEM Centre, York (this year’s venue for the opening round of competition) began at 7am sharp from Rishworth School. By 9:15 am the all-important pit display was constructed, showcasing the evolution of the car and proudly displaying team sponsors. Over the course of what proved to be a hugely enjoyable day, the team conducted interviews with judges pertaining to the pit-display, sponsorship and marketing and another interview about the intricate design masterminded by Laurence. There was also a five minute verbal presentation in which the team showed a fantastic video of the car created by Grant (a name to remember for film fans!). The pinnacle of the day was the racing itself with Professional Class competition coming at the very end of the day. Max was the designated “driver”, showcasing lightening reactions to fire the car down the straight 20 metre track when each of the five starting lights had gone out. The result was the fastest overall race-time of the competition.

Once racing was completed and judges’ verdicts reached, teams gathered in the auditorium for the awards ceremony. The atmosphere was tense. After the agonising wait for the entry and development class results to be announced finally the wait was over. Centurion Racing were placed 2nd place overall, in what the judges confirmed to be an incredibly tight race for first place. The icing on the cake was to win the “Innovative Thinking Award”, a highly coveted honour which rewarded the team for their creative responses to the challenges posed by the competition.


The success of the Regional Finals meant that Centurion Racing were once again back to race at Silverstone on March 19th and 20th. Despite an unseasonal covering of spring snow, the team arrived at the Silverstone Wing Building at eight o’clock sharp, ready to set up their impressive pit display. The rest of the day was punctuated with gruelling judging sessions where the team was quizzed on the design and enterprise aspects of their entry and conducted another presentation on their improved entry. At lunchtime, one of the team sponsors, and professional saxophonist, Ellie Sax performed live at the team pit display, drawing a huge crowd of spectators. The highlight of the day was the reaction racing. The team was delighted when Centurion Racing shot to the top of the leader board with a blisteringly quick time of 1.228 seconds! Wrapping up the first day of competition was the eagerly anticipated lap of the Silverstone circuit in the school minibus at a heady 20mph!
The second day of competition was at a more relaxed pace, with only pit interviews for the livestream of the event, and a knock out racing tournament. In a closely fought encounter, Centurion Racing narrowly lost the semi-final to the eventual winners. The last event of the day was the nerve shredding awards ceremony. Centurion Racing were guaranteed the Fastest Car award, a prestigious testament to the engineering which had gone into the design and manufacture of the car. The team also received a nomination for the “Team Identity” award. Sadly, the team did not make it into the top three places, missing out on a place at the 2018 World Finals.


Although it is the end of the road for this year, all team members remarked on what a fantastic experience which had, once again, been had. The title of “Fastest Car” in the United Kingdom is a huge achievement, one which the team are justly proud of.

If you have been inspired by Centurion Racing’s success and would like to find out more information please visit their website: www.centurionracing.co.uk

 

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