Photograph by Susan Jefferies. Pictured back row (L-R) David Hatton, John Harding, Pauric Dempsey & in front Team Captain Lee Campbell.
Autolaunch Racing from Presentation College, Carlow were declared the overall winners of the 2014 F1 in Schools Technology Challenge, powered in Ireland by the Irish Computer Society at the National Finals held in Dublin Castle as part of Tech Week Ireland.
Team members John Harding, Pauric Dempsey, David Hatton and Captain Lee Campbell were coordinated by teachers Claire McHugh and Mike Ryan. The team fought off competition from 25 other finalist teams from all over Ireland to claim the National Title and trophy, €2,000 in prize money, and the opportunity to represent Ireland in the 2014 World Championships in Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi alongside the 2014 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November this year.
Work for the 2014 Finals began last September with schools registering their interest in competing. Intense competition followed with 94 teams representing 63 second-level schools from across the country, battling their way through the various qualifying stages of the competition to reach the National Finals.
In addition to racing head-to-head, the competing teams were judged on the quality of engineering, portfolio, resource management, marketing, graphic design, sponsorship activities and on a verbal presentation of their work.
Campbell said, “Our journey so far has been the most amazing experience of our lives, and we've learned so many new skills in a vast range of areas, such as Science, Engineering, Design, Business and Media. Being involved in the competition has really broadened our horizons for the future, and having all our hard work payoff is an incredible feeling. We are absolutely delighted to be able to represent our country in this year's World Finals."
The F1 in Schools challenge, powered in Ireland by the Irish Computer Society, began as a response to a recognised skills shortage in computing and engineering, with technology courses having had experienced a significant decline in CAO applications over a number of years.
CEO of the Irish Computer Society Jim Friars congratulated all of the participants. “The teams raised the bar considerably this year and it was amazing to see the excitement and enthusiasm from both students and teachers alike. An incredible level of commitment and teamwork was displayed and the lengths that the teams went to in modelling and planning the cars were unprecedented.”
This is the fourteenth year running for the leading global education initiative, which now incorporates over 25,000 schools from 40 different Countries. It will be held in Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi. Autolaunch Racing will hope to emulate the success of the only Irish team to win the World Finals, ‘The Koni Kats’ from St.David’s Secondary School in Greystones in the 2009 Finals in London.
See the full list of winners and awards here.