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A woman’s place … is on the racetrack: Whilst working in STEM may not be the conventional route for many girls, it is an advantageous one – Emily Chesters, Team Manager of Storm Racing

Emily Chesters is team manager of Storm Racing, an all-girl team of 16 and 17 year old students from Sandbach High School and Sixth Form College. They recently won the F1 in Schools Technology Challenge ‘Women in Motorsport Award’, supported by Dare To Be Different, held at Silverstone circuit. Due to their success in 2016 they are determined to go even further and hopefully compete at the world finals in October 2017.

Emily Chesters - Storm Racing
Emily Chesters

“…You don’t have to be a genius to compete in F1 in Schools, and it doesn’t just involve engineering – there are other sides to it such as graphic design and marketing…”

Doing our best to become the best

Our team began in 2013 when I approached our engineering teacher about wanting to do an extra-curricular project. He had been involved with F1 in Schools at his previous school so we decided that it would be a good idea to start a team.

Storm Racing was formed in 2014, comprised of five girls from Sandbach High School after we had competed in the previous year under the name “CAUC”. We are currently in our third year of competition, holding the title of North West Regional Champions, 8th place in the UK and the Best All-Girl Team in the UK.

Team work makes the dream work

Storm RacingMy role of team manager mainly involves project management, so I keep track of where everyone is up to and what they are doing to make sure everything is completed on time. I also am in charge of sponsorship, social media, and marketing. These involve publicising the team so that we can gain the finances and publicity required to compete.

There are five of us in the team:

  • Dani Taylor is our manufacturing engineer and she is in charge of the making of the car and LERS (Launch Energy Recovery System) device, and also interactions with sponsors such as Bentley. (Main picture, far left)
  • Emma Davis is our graphic designer who is in charge of team identity, the pit display and portfolios. (Main picture, second from left.)
  • Sophie Barwick is the technical analyst who oversees all of the testing of the car, analyses different team members’ reaction times and also helps with the pit display and sponsorship and marketing. (Main picture, third from right.)
  • Emma Jerstice is the design engineer who is in charge of designing the car. She also helps with the testing of the car using CFD (computational fluid dynamics) and wind tunnel testing. (Main picture, far right.)

From regional to national finals at Silverstone

The team competed at the North West regional finals in February 2016. This was something we had worked towards since September 2015 – we were meeting every Monday night and in our lunchtimes to complete the project.

The team were delighted when we were crowned North West Regional Champions and were invited to take part at the national finals at Silverstone, so we began meeting again every Monday. This was where we improved each aspect of the project, and we were also able to secure sponsorship from well-known companies such as Bentley and Siemens, which helped us a lot.

We have mainly had support involving the manufacturing of the car, so for example Barden has provided us with bearings, Bentley agreed to manufacture the cars at their factory, and Siemens manufactured our 3D printed components. Alongside this the team are also seeking financial sponsorship to help with other elements of the project such as team uniform, pit display and the printing of the portfolios.

Next stop: Silverstone

At the nationals in April we were told that a woman from Mercedes AMG Petronas wanted to speak with us, so we presented our project to her – little did we know that she was the one deciding who won the award! There were three other all-girl teams at the nationals so we were very happy with our win!

Teams who did exceptionally well at the national finals are invited to attend the Grand Prix at Silverstone, so due to our success we were one of those invited. We had an amazing day where we were able to watch the practice racing, and we were also invited into the Martini and Red Bull paddocks. Afterwards we waited to meet all the drivers in the VIP area – and we met many, including Susie Wolff!

Don’t just take my word for it: If you’re at school or college, why not start your own team?

Being a girl actually has its advantages in the STEM subjects, and whilst it may not be the conventional route for many girls, it is an advantageous one! You don’t have to be a genius to compete in F1 in Schools, and it doesn’t just involve engineering – there are other sides to it such as graphic design and marketing.

F1 in Schools is really easy to get into now as they have a learning channel and three different categories of competition, so if you want to get involved just speak to a technology or science teacher at your school and visit the F1 in Schools UK website where you’ll have access to materials you need to get started! There are now entry, development and professional classes, so the competition has been designed to ease you in so that you don’t find it too difficult.

We are currently working towards competing at the regional finals in January,  and we are hoping to reach the national finals again, where this time we hope to win and be invited to the world finals! Please do follow us on Twitter and Facebook and we will do our very best to make you proud.

We’re also looking to partner with brands who want to support women in STEM so we can keep pushing the boundaries and showing that a woman’s place … is on the racetrack! Please email us if you’d be interested in finding out more.


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