Clonmel Gaelcholaiste team reaches Formula One final

After months of hard work in the competition where students must design and race their own CO2 powered Formula 1 car, Team Krypton of Gaelcholáiste Chéitinn Clonmel lined up on the starting grid for the national final of the F1 in Schools Competition held in Griffith College, Dublin.

After months of hard work in the competition where students must design and race their own CO2 powered Formula 1 car, Team Krypton of Gaelcholáiste Chéitinn Clonmel lined up on the starting grid for the national final of the F1 in Schools Competition held in Griffith College, Dublin.

The aim of this international competition is to promote science and technology in schools and this year over 7 million students in 32 countries competed in the competition.

Team Krypton, along with Team Lightspeed also of Gaelcholáiste Chéitinn, started work back in September and both qualified for the regional finals last December.

The regional finals were held in Cork Institute Of Technology in March and both competed with the best teams in Munster. Team Krypton drove away with the Best Digital Marketing award and were rewarded for all their hard work with a place on the grid at the national finals as one of the best 17 teams in the country.

The team was made up of four 5th year students - Ross Walsh – Team Manager; James Croke – Resource and Manufacturing Manager; Ciarán Fortune – Graphic designer and Marketing Manager and Danny Fitzpatrick – Design Engineer.

Part of the challenge for the team was to design a car manufactured out of very light balsa wood to complete the track in the quickest possible time. The cars are propelled down the track by a compressed CO2 cartridge. To do this Team Krypton had to take factors into consideration including drag, wind resistance, aerodynamics, mass and friction.

On the day the students were very busy. To start with they had to a give a verbal and visual presentation to a team of judges, which was quickly followed by another group of judges for their pit display and their portfolio judging. In the afternoon the racing took place, with Team Krypton’s car just 0.2 of a second off the pace of the fastest car. The team’s website had been submitted for judging days before to the national final along with marketing details.

The students took a lot from the competition and in the words of team manager Ross Walsh “It was a fantastic experience for all the team and we would do it again in a flash.”

As part of the competition each team has to raise sponsorship to cover their costs. Without the support of local businesses it would not have been possible to reach this level and the team and school are grateful to sponsors Suirway Forklifters and Access, MSD Wordwide (Merck), Dunnes Stores Ireland, Kevin O’Leary, Opel Clonmel, SuirClean Valeting and many other local businesses around Clonmel.

The team is also grateful to James Coleman, motorsport enthusiast and Managing Director of Suirway Forklifts and Access for his time and advice, which was greatly appreciated.