Young innovators get into gear for STEM@TheCircuit Festival

A Ferrari F1 show car will make a pit shop in Ballymena as one of the star attractions at a STEM festival from April 4-7.
A Ferrari F1 show car will make a pit shop in Ballymena as one of the star attractions at a STEM festival from April 4-7.

A Ferrari F1 show car will make a pit stop in Mid and East Antrim as one of the star attractions at a high-octane festival of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Hundreds of pupils from schools throughout Northern Ireland are set to take part in STEM@TheCircuit 2017 — a unique event being staged in Ballymena from Tuesday to Friday, April 4-7.

Organisers have lined up a packed schedule of exciting activities and exhibitions to educate and thrill the pioneers of the future.

One event will allow pupils to get up close to a replica Scuderia Ferrari F1 car, with another challenging them to pit their skills against their peers by creating a scaled-down CO2-powered racing machine capable of reaching speeds of up to 70km per hour.

The Scuderia Ferrari show car will be available to view by the general public in the STEM marquee at Ballymena Showgrounds from 3pm until 5pm on Wednesday, April 5.

The Circuit Festival is funded by Mid and East Antrim Council, working in partnership with the team behind the Circuit of Ireland Rally.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Audrey Wales said: “This forward-looking event shows just how exciting and wide ranging STEM subjects are and how they are used in our everyday lives. The quality and range of events will bring STEM subjects to life for the pupils travelling to Ballymena for the festival. I have no doubt many will be inspired to consider science, technology, engineering and maths subjects as part of their education and future careers on the back of their experiences at STEM@TheCircuit.”

Young people will also work alongside companies, including NIE Networks, Wrightbus, AES and Sensata, to boost the pupils’ understanding of research and development.

One key event will see pupils vie for pole position in the Northern Ireland final of the Sentinus F1 in Schools competition.

As part of the challenge, hundreds of children and young people aged 10 to 17 will compete to build their very own model F1 car, as well as designing the branding for their team.

Another major event, Dare To Be Different, will involve around 100 girls aged eight to 11 and is aimed at using motorsport to inspire them to break the mould and shatter perceptions around female involvement in the sport.

A Scuderia Ferrari show car makes its Ireland debut as part of the Dare To Be Different initiative for young girls.

The six-metre-long car, provided by Shell, is one of only 25 in the world and an exact replica of the car driven by Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen.

The lucky participants will take part in a range of activities including kart racing, fitness instruction and a pit stop, as well as receiving media training from Sky News presenters.

Circuit of Ireland Rally Director Bobby Willis said: “We are delighted to have the Scuderia Ferrari single seater as part of STEM@TheCircuit.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for the girls to have access to one of the world’s most outstanding technological motorsport developments. Many of the improvements we see in our road cars today come directly from innovation in motorsport technology.”

An extensive variety of STEM activities will be showcased in the marquee throughout the festival.

Interactive displays created by STEM companies, professional bodies, colleges and other education institutions will demonstrate STEM in action in Northern Ireland today.

Pupils will also have a chance to meet and talk with industry professionals to find out how they can put themselves in the driving seat when it comes to pursuing careers in STEM subjects.