Loughrea students aiming to conquer world with miniature Formula 1 speedster

St. Brigid's College students, Loughrea, who will be competing at the 'F1 in Schools' World Finals in Kuala Lumpur later this year. Left to right: Sean Brien, Ronan Mitchell, Ruth Conway, Sinéad Kennedy, Alannah Curley and Seán Fahey.
St. Brigid's College students, Loughrea, who will be competing at the 'F1 in Schools' World Finals in Kuala Lumpur later this year. Left to right: Sean Brien, Ronan Mitchell, Ruth Conway, Sinéad Kennedy, Alannah Curley and Seán Fahey.

Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon

A group of Transition Year secondary school students from St. Brigid’s College, Loughrea, who have successfully turned their hands to designing Formula 1 cars, will compete with the brightest young minds from across the globe when they travel to the World Finals in Kuala Lumpur later this year.

Having claimed the Irish ‘F1 in Schools’ title last month, beating off stiff competition from a selection of both second and third level colleges in the country, Victorum Racing will now represent Galway and Ireland at the prestigious world championships.

The objective of the competition is to build a miniature racing F1 car, the challenge encouraging students to learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacturing, branding, graphics, sponsorship and marketing, among others, in a fun environment.

Once their racing car is built, the miniature must then endeavour to cover 20 metres of track in less than a second. It sounds almost impossible but this feat has been achieved on numerous occasion already.

The current world record is held by Australian team, Infinitude, who traversed the distance in 0.916 seconds at last year’s World Finals in Austin, Texas. However, unofficially, White Squall Racing from Greece did post a time of 0.864 during the 2016 Greek National Finals but this was not recognised as records must be posted at the World Finals.

For Victorum Racing’s part, their miniature completed the 20 metres in 1.1 seconds at the nationals and the challenge now is to get that time under the second mark for the Worlds in October.

“So, the goal for the next four or five months is to get that down to below a second,” confirmed St. Brigid’s College teacher David Monaghan, who is the students’ supporting teacher on the project. “There is a caveat with that though. What was allowed last year will not be allowed in this year.

“In 2016, they allowed what is called a launch energy recovery system, which you place behind the car. When the CO2 explodes, this thing would catch some of the gas and use it to propel the car forward. However, they have banned them for this year. As a result, the car speed they were able to achieve last year will be very hard to achieve again this time round.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.