A couple days away from their GCSE studies have inspired five of our Fifth Year and a few others to tackle the 2018 F1 In Schools competition with extra zest.
Seeing a competitor our team had beaten at the Regionals win the overall National competition - walking off with a superb prize that included Grand Prix tickets and an enviable trip to the World Finals in Kuala Lumpur - has undoubtedly given our pupils an extra spur for next year's challenge.
Earlier this term Liberty - a team consisting of Ellis Cutler, George Evans, Amrit Gill, Max Harrison and Harry Loud - had swept the board at the Central Regional Final in Birmingham, achieving 1st place overall in the Professional Class as well as awards for 'Fastest Car' and 'Best Engineered Car'. In reaching the National Final, the team had impressively beaten two other Bablake teams (one L6th, one Fifth Year), winners of a Judges' Recommendation Award and 2nd place in the Development Class.
10 months' work raising sponsorship, developing a marketing strategy and designing, manufacturing and testing their racing car came to a conclusion for Liberty at Silverstone this week for the National Final.
Day 1 saw the team build their pit, deliver a presentation to the judges, race their car against one of the other 30 teams present and enjoy the atmosphere at Silverstone, home to F1 racing. The day even finished with Mr Sam Williams (Design Technology) as chauffeur for a leisurely lap of the track in one of our school minibuses, part of a 30 vehicle convoy!
Day 2 brought a knockout competition, the chance to test UCL's 'Pit Stop', and the Awards ceremony. With a couple of regulation faults, later overturned at appeal, giving the team a lower final day seeding, progress in the knockout round was always going to be difficult. However, our team won the 'Pit Stop' challenge with an impressive tyre change time of 2.9 seconds.
The highlight of the two days came at the Awards ceremony when Liberty was named as one of the Top 3 teams in the 'Sponsorship and Marketing' category. This accolade at National level is a fantastic achievement and, judging from the fervent conversation in the minibus on the return to Bablake, it is excellent to report the team is already planning its 2018 campaign.
Mr Williams summarised the 2017 campaign saying: "This year's entry for Liberty was designed to be a sounding board for 2018, but their dedication and innovation have already been deservedly recognised. To reach a National platform, while balancing the pressures of the final stages of the GCSE courses, is an achievement everyone in the team should feel very proud of. I look forward to seeing just how far the team reaches in the Sixth Form."
Thank you to all Liberty's sponsors, without whom the team's entry would not have been possible.