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Author: The Greenpower Team
When the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) headed to Thruxton circuit for the third round of the 2019 season, fans tuning in expected to see the close on-track battles and thrilling races that are synonymous with one of the best touring car series in the world.
What may have come as a surprise was a group of young students with their Greenpower Goblin kit cars in tow being interviewed on primetime television. In fact, it is fair to say they stole the show!
Team Millmour took centre stage on ITV4 alongside BTCC superstars Tom Chilton and Nic Hamilton. The team is taking part in the Greenpower Formula Goblin category and is made up of 12 pupils aged 9-11 from two TKAT (The Kemnal Academies Trust) schools: The Mill Primary Academy and Seymour Primary in Crawley. The pupils had been hard at work preparing their fully electric Goblin kit cars ahead of a busy Greenpower season.
However, Alex Chalmers discovered that some of his enthusiastic team members had little knowledge of what a race weekend entails. He decided a trip to BTCC was in order, which neatly coincided with the Thruxton round of the championship.
The Motorbase Performance BTCC team is based just over 30 miles from the two schools, and so Alex wrote to them in a bid to enlist them in his quest.
“We’re new to the Greenpower challenge for 2019, and some of our team had an idea of what goes on behind the scenes at motorsport events, and some knew less,” explained Alex. “I wrote to Motorbase Performance to ask if they could help us show our students exactly what the mechanics and engineers get up to in a real race environment.”
The Motorbase Performance could not have been more accommodating. Team Millmour’s day out at the races was arranged, and it was agreed with the race circuit that their two Goblin cars would be on display behind the team’s pit garage.
This was the scene of the pupils’ starring role. Standing proudly alongside their cars – as well as Motorbase Performance drivers Hamilton and Chilton - the team took ITV4 presenter Paul O’Neill through the controls of their Goblin cars they had designed and built themselves.
Greenpower’s mission is to inspire the next generation of mechanics, engineers, scientists and racers to pursue STEM studies through the exciting medium of motorsport. The design-build-race challenge has been running since 1999 and features three categories: Formula Goblin (ages 9-11), IET Formula 24 (11-16) and IET Formula 24+ (16-25). Each team is supplied with an age-appropriate kit car.
The BTCC paddock was intrigued by the appearance of the Goblin kit cars and its creators. When asked by O’Neill if he fancied a go in the Goblin car, Hamilton joked, “I don’t think I’d be able to fit in the cars for a start! They are built really well, I am really impressed, and it’s great to have the kids here for the weekend.”
Chilton said, “I think they look really, really good. They have good turning – I’ve been figuring them out!”.
The response from Team Millmour was enthusiastic. The pupils were shown round the Motorbase BTCC cars and pit garage by an engineer – which has left a lasting impression on the team.
“We’ve had several pupils enquire about which local secondary schools are participating in the next category of the Greenpower challenge, IET Formula 24. One of our team members has informed us she wants to work with race cars in the future after meeting the Motorbase team,” said Alex.
After their visit to Thruxton, the imagination of Team Millmour has been well and truly captured.
“Everyone was really into the Greenpower challenge before, but now their competitive side has been awakened,” concluded Alex. “The team is starting to get into the technical side of their designs to optimise the set-up of the car as well as trying to find extra elements and creative solutions now they have seen the role of a race car engineer and mechanic first hand.”