SIX Dundalk Grammar School students have qualified for the national final of the F1 in Schools racing competition, despite making a costly error about the weight of their car.
Transition year students Tim McGuinness, David Cronin, Alexander Gleeson, Ben Reynolds, Derek Williams, and Alexander Bloomfield overcame their mistake and beat off tough competition to make it through to the final.
The students, who comprise “Diablo Racing” team, secured a place in the national final after competing in the Eastern Regional finals in Griffith College, Dublin on March 3.
Accompanied by Scott Nowell and Paul Murphy, Diablo Racing, set off from Dundalk at 6am as they had to be at Griffith College for 8am so they could set up their pit display in time.
“Before we knew it, it was 11am and time for our car check-up. If only someone had weighed our car on the official weighing scales before then,” said Diablo Racing team member, Alexander Gleeson.
“We had all presumed that someone else on the team had weighed it, and in the heat of the moment we naively handed our car in for checkup.”
Alexander added: “We were 0.1 grams, lighter than a fingernail, underweight and therefore deducted four points and disqualified from the fastest car competition.
“When race time came around we were downhearted as we knew we wouldn’t be going home with the most important prize, but we were still excited to see our car race for the first time.”
Diablo Racing’s car is powered by a gas propelled co2 canister enabling the car to reach speeds of 80 km\h.
“We destroyed the lap record and thanks to Alex Bloomfield’s quick reactions we held on to it for the day,” he said.
“We went into the verbal presentation with our knees shivering from the nerves, but when we came out we knew we were behaving stupidly as it wasn’t anything to fear.”
Despite the team’s earlier mishap, they managed to walk away with an award.
Diablo Racing won “Best ICT and CAD”. Their car also recorded the fastest time.