Search site

Girls race into finals of global STEM challenge

Two teams of West Lothian school girls have raced into the finals of a global Formula One tournament following two days of tough competition at the UK finals of the F1 in Schools challenge at Silverstone.

The F1 in Schools UK National Finals, held at the home of British motorsport, Silverstone circuit, brought together the top 42 teams from around the UK, who had won through from ten Regional Final events held earlier this year. The teams had taken up the challenge to design, build, test and race a miniature F1 car, with the last two days being spent having their entries judged in a number of categories including scrutineering, engineering, verbal presentation, pit display and enterprise portfolio as well as the car's speed being tested on the Official F1 in Schools track, a 20 metres long drag strip, which the F1 in Schools F1 cars cover in just over a second.

'Team AcceleRace powered by Inoapps' from Linlithgow Academy were crowned UK champions in the Development Class section of the competition. The all-female team of S3 pupils comprised of Louise Paterson Louise Murray, Aoife Sutton, Isla Petrie and Molly Ganner managed to design and build the fastest car in the development class competition with the car timing in at 1.316 seconds (winning by 0.035 seconds).

They will be joined at the world finals in Singapore by team 'Velocity Racing' from Inveralmond Community High School was made up of Chloe Adam, Beth Lewis, Amy Shaw, Nicole Mulrainey, Katie Saunders and Megan Cleaver.

Over the two days the team of S3 and S4 girls was named Scottish champions as they competed in the Professional Class section, reaching the quarter finals of the knockout racing in the process.

They received high praise from the judges for the high quality of their work and their professional attitude throughout the competition and also managed to scoop the award for Best Pit Display against some stiff competition from 27 other teams from around the UK.

Both teams are now faced with the task of raising just short of £30,000 to pay for flights, accommodation, resources and competition fees in order to compete at the World Finals in Singapore which take place in September.  Both teams will also need to go about the task of re-designing their race car to hit speeds of up to 20m per second ahead of the competition.

Louise Paterson who took on the role of team manager for 'Team AcceleRace powered by Inoapps' (Linlithgow Academy) is excited by the prospect of competing at the world finals. She said: "We are so excited for everything to come and we are a team that loves working together. We are all so delighted to be representing the UK in F1 in Schools this year".

Chloe Adam who is the team manager for 'Velocity Racing' was ecstatic about the team qualifying to the World Finals. She Said: "We have really pushed ourselves throughout the various stages of the competition with the hope of reaching the World Finals and it has been so rewarding to see out efforts pay off. The design and testing process has been extremely challenging at times but we are confident in the changes we have made to ensure our car is as fast as possible and we are ready to do it all over again as we move towards the World Finals.  Getting to this point has developed so many skills that we can take on throughout our time in school and beyond, including time management, financial tracking and the ability to work effectively as part of a team.  We'll have to work very hard to do well in Singapore but I think it's a great opportunity for all us."

Executive councillor for education David Dodds said: "Huge congratulations to both Inveralmond Community High School and Linlithgow Academy.

"To have two teams reaching the World Finals from the same local authority is a startling achievement. For both of those teams to be all-girls is just fantastic - especially when you consider how male-dominated Formula 1 and other engineering related fields are.

"We wish both teams the best of luck as they prepare for the world finals."