Greenpower Team Kickstart Their Season at Goodwood | Epsom College
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Greenpower Team Kickstart Their Season at Goodwood

Each year, Epsom's STEM pupils design, build and race an electric-powered car against teams from schools, colleges and youth groups across the UK. The first race of the season took place last weekend on the famous Goodwood circuit.

Following two terms of preparation, 15 of the Epsom STEM Greenpower team headed to Goodwood for the first race of the 2023 season. This year the College entered three teams:

  • One in the F24 Kit Car (11-16 years old) category
  • Two teams in the F24+ Kit Car (16-24 years old) category

The aim was to drive the greatest distance possible in the allotted time, an hour in the F24+ and 90 minutes in the F24, which included two mandatory pit stops.

All teams performed exceptionally, and their strong start bodes well for the rest of the race season, in which they hope to qualify for the international finals.

Race day

On arrival at Goodwood, the teams set up their cars to meet the criteria for scrutineering. Then, following a drivers’ briefing, it was all out on track for the practice session with over 100 cars taking to the 2.6-mile circuit. This allowed the Epsom teams to test their cars, which had updated bodywork and new gearing for the 2023 season.

Despite a good start, our teams experienced technical problems with both cars’ electronics and motor setups. With little time available, it required a quick turnaround to get the cars fixed before the first race.

Hitting the track

Our drivers for the day in the F24 category were Thomas Stapely, Sophia Pirrie and Zac Power. Thomas took to the track for the start of the F24 race and made a good start. He was followed by Sophia, who completed three quick laps before handing over to Zac for the final stint. Once again, the car suffered an electrical fault seeing them unable to complete the session and finish down the field. The team rallied and worked well to fix the car before the next session.

Dr Telfer-Mason, the teacher in charge of the Greenpower team, commented, “It was great to see all the team come together and work collaboratively to solve the problems and fix the cars to get them back out on track.”

Both cars were then out on track for the F24+ race, Freddie Butler and Leo Skingley were at the wheel and drove well. Freddie finished 4th, and Leo finished 7th, which are the team’s best finishes to date.

Brake failures and strong finishes

The final race of the day was the second F24 race. Zac made an impressive start, moving up the field before handing over to Thomas. Unfortunately, it was at this point that the car suffered a brake issue which resulted in a five-minute pit stop. Once the car was repaired, Sophia went back out on track in 71st place. The odds were against the team, but with a stunning drive, making several overtakes, Sophia moved through the field to finish 23rd out of 88 cars. The gave Epsom an outstanding result, being placed 11th in class out of over 60 cars.

Mr Johnstone said, “We were delighted to see the team work well together and overcome the issues we had on the day to secure strong finishes.”

Top Gear test track

The whole team really enjoyed the day out and demonstrated great resilience following technical problems. The team now looks forward to the next two races in September at Dunsfold (the Top Gear test track) and Castle Coombe, where they hope to build on a strong start to the season and qualify for the end-of-season international finals in October. 

The whole STEM Greenpower Team would like to thank Dan Bailey (OE) and Veloce Racing for continuing to sponsor the team along with XXV Sportswear who have joined as a new sponsor for this year. As well as a big thank you to Ian Clarke for driving the team to and from the race!

Photos by James Lynch / Spacesuit Media