Irish schools to take their place on the grid for world F1 schools challenge
It's Formula 1 with a difference, and two Irish teams are revving up for the winning line.
The world's top racing drivers are not the only ones gearing up for the annual US Grand Prix next week.
Irish students are also flying out to Austin, Texas, for the world finals of the 2013 F1 in Schools Technology Challenge, which involved more than 17,000 schools from 31 countries in its initial stages this year.
Their challenge was to design, manufacture and race a Formula 1-style car, on one-twentieth the scale of the real thing. Fuelled by CO2 canisters, it races on a 20-metre track, and for the finals teams will also be put through their paces during an oral presentation.
The aim of the competition is to encourage the development of computing and engineering skills among teen students, in a fun and creative way.
Ireland will be doubly represented in Austin: the Irish 2013 champions, Bardahl Racing from St David's Secondary School, Greystones, Co Wicklow, and a team from Donabate Community College, Co Dublin, who, having come second in the Irish competition, were invited to collaborate with an Australian school for the world event and are entered under the name Odyssey.
Bardahl team member Christopher Lynch (17), who acts as marketing and communications manager, said: "It has been a life-changing experience; we can see it in our work ethic and the way we work as a team."
St David's already has proud tradition in this competition, with its Koni Kats team carrying off the world title in 2009.