Students from St. Brigid’s College in Loughrea did Galway proud in science and sports, placing second at the international Formula 1 in Schools championship in Singapore.
Formula 1 in Schools is the world’s largest STEM competition for second level students, with over 20 million people taking part across five continents.
Students form their own Formula 1 team and compete to design, build and race miniature CO2 powered race cars.
These aren’t your old scalexrix toys though, as the cars are capable of reaching 120km/hr on the track.
St. Brigid’s team CCJ AutoVinco were the only European competitors on the podium after the world finals at Singapore’s Marina Bay Circuit last Sunday.
They were pipped for the top spot by the Australian team by the merest .01 of a second.
Ruth Conway (17), Seán Fahey (17), Sinéad Kennedy (17), Alannah Curley (17), Bhagya Bowatte (17) and Ciaran Connors (17) have spent almost three years working on this project to compete at the world stage.
Irish motorsports legend Eddie Jordan met the team at the famous F1 paddock to congratulate them over the weekend, and came away suitably impressed.
“As a group of students these guys epitomise everything that is good about Irish people, ultra-professional and meticulous in their approach,” he said.
“Competing with the very best in the world and not afraid to be there, but also able to deliver it in a uniquely Irish way with buckets of personality, I can see these guys running another Irish F1 team in years to come.”
The prizegiving for the secondary school pupils was the first time since Heinz Harold Frentzen put Eddie Jordan’s team on the top step in 1999 that the tri-colour has adorned the F1 podium.
Over the course of the competition, the students were assessed on every aspect of their work.
From the research, design, and manufacturing of their, right through to their enterprise and management with the team.
As well as taking overall second place, St. Brigid’s team were nominated for the best engineered car and enterprise awards, and received the top award for sponsorship and marketing.
CEO of Formula 1 Chase Carey said to the three ranking teams at the awards, “I want to thank and congratulate tonight’s competitors, who are the most impressive group of young people that I have ever met in many years.”
“Your energy and passion are incredible and my hope is that some of you will end up in Formula 1 at some point in the future, but what is clear is the world is yours.”
“You are an incredibly talented group of individuals and all of you have exciting futures ahead of you. If the future of the world is based on our youth, the future of the world is in good hands.”
From home, Loughrea’s CCJ AutoVinco were sponsored by John Campion, Irish American businessman and owner of CJJ Motorsport.
John has been a tremendous supporter of Irish Motorsport, and youth talent in particular, over the last number of years with the Team Ireland scholarship programme for up and coming Irish drivers.
The team also partnered with many other Irish businesses including Supermac’s, DHL Ireland, the GRETB, 3D Technology Ltd., Avaya, Dawnlough Precision, Logstrup Ireland, Alkermes, and ALS Minerals.