Irish F1 champions ready to take on the world

10 October 2014

Excitement is mounting in Presentation College Carlow over their Autolaunch Racing Team who are preparing for the Formula 1 in Schools World Championships.

Autolaunch team with RTE's Ryan Tubridy
Autolaunch team with RTE's Ryan Tubridy
F1 in Schools is a global multidisciplinary competition that challenges secondary school students to design, build and race miniature compressed-air-powered balsa wood F1 cars. The competition inspires students to use IT to learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacture, branding, graphics, sponsorship, marketing, leadership, teamwork, media skills and financial strategy, and apply them in a practical, imaginative, competitive and exciting way.
Autolaunch prototype car
Autolaunch prototype car

The team fought off stiff competition from 63 other Irish entries to win the national heat of the event in May and since then have been working intensively both to perfect their model car and to raise over €25,000 to reach the event in Abu Dhabi in November. John Harding, Pauric Dempsey, David Hatton and Captain Lee Campbell were coordinated by teachers Claire McHugh and Noel O'Neill.

The team have put together a series of highly innovative fundraising events, including a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo in which members of the public can donate any amount of money to the project in return for perks such as a limited-edition pen or 3D printed part.  They are also currently holding a raffle with great top prizes including a signed Kilkenny hurling jersey, a two-night stay in Hotel Kilkenny and 4 Premium seats for the Olympia Christmas Panto.

The team also held a Track Day in Fairgreen Shopping Centre where the public had the opportunity to race the  cars down the track for €2 a go, with prizes for the fastest reaction time. In addition they held two supermarket bag packs, which earned over €2000. IOP Ireland have also given a grant of €500 to the team. An integral part of the fundraising has been their media campaign, with the team featuring on local and national radio and newspapers.

Wind Tunnel Testing

Wind tunnel testing at the University of Limerick
Wind tunnel testing at the University of Limerick

Recently the team was invited by University of Limerick to use their wind tunnel to test the aerodynamics of their cars. They had manufactured a number of different test cars to use to find which would be the quickest for the finals.


Final Stage Preparations
Team Manager, Lee Campbell said: “As we are now coming into the closing stages of the competition we are working intensively on all the different aspects. We have designed our pit display and are currently manufacturing it. We are working on our 20-page portfolio and we are finishing the design process of our car and will be manufacturing soon. We will also soon be starting the 10-minute verbal presentation and we are also finishing the marketing booklet, which is a new element to the competition this year.”

The team have shown remarkable technical and business skills throughout the competition and IOP Ireland certainly wishes them every success in Abu Dhabi.

For more information on the progress of the team, see