F1 in Schools: 'Success hasn't sunk in yet' as Scarborough UTC students crowned national champions

Scarborough UTC students have raced home with an astounding victory at the UK Formula 1 in Schools competition as they were crowned national champions.

By George Buksmann
Friday, 22nd October 2021, 1:26 pm
Alex Jenkin, Missy McArdle and Libby Atkins with their F1 in Schools winning trophies and UTC principal Lee Kilgour.
Alex Jenkin, Missy McArdle and Libby Atkins with their F1 in Schools winning trophies and UTC principal Lee Kilgour.

Teenagers Missy McArdle, 17, Libby Atkin, 16, and Alex Jenkin, 17, created a miniature racing car powered by compressed air and scooped the win against 15 other schools from around the country.

They will now represent the UK at the 2022 world finals of the Formula 1 in Schools competition - and have won work placements with racing team Alpine F1, whose drivers include two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, as well as engineering bursaries worth £5,000.

Ms McArdle said: "The new success hasn’t sunk in yet. We put in hundreds of hours, staying late after school for many evenings but it was all worth it."

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Scarborough UTC's students' entry in the F1 in Schools competition.

Their Avidity Racing team, sponsored by the Scarborough Business Ambassadors, won Best Engineered Car in addition to the national honour in the professional category at the finals held in Brighouse, West Yorkshire.

Missy, the team’s principal and business manager also scooped the top award for Girls on Track UK, a scheme to encourage more female students to consider careers in engineering and in motorsport, where only two per cent of females are currently involved.

She was a member of the UTC Formula 1 in Schools team which reached the world finals in Abu Dhabi two years ago.

"We just need to keep stepping it up for the world finals. We’ve spotted some areas of improvement for our car and how we want to re-design it and go again," she said.

The moment Scarborough UTC students were announced as F1 in Schools national champions.

The trio had to create a miniature F1 racing car to speed along a 20-metre track at up to 45mph. This month’s triumph followed victory in the regional heats in July, where they recorded a time of 1.271 seconds.

Detailed technical, financial and marketing presentations were also assessed by experts from industry and education.

Lee Kilgour, UTC's principal, said: "We could not be more proud of these students - it’s a totally glittering triumph.

"When they represent the UTC and the country in the world finals, they will also be representing Scarborough and the region, reflecting excellence for technical education and a can-do spirit that employers are looking for."

The racing track at the F1 in Schools competition.

The 2022 world final will take place in spring with more than 40 teams and 227 students from countries around the world competing.

F1 in Schools was established 20 years ago and is the biggest science and technology initiative offered to students. It is linked with the international F1 championship and was founded by Andrew Denford, who runs an engineering facility in West Yorkshire.

Mr Denford said: "My congratulations go to SBA Avidity Racing for taking the title; they put tremendous effort into their entry. It is a testament to their determination to succeed that they achieved their victory. We’ve seen the cream of young engineering talent at this year’s finals."