A team from March CE Primary School, supported by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, made their mark at this year’s Greenpower IET ‘Gathering of the Goblins’, Britain’s premier event for electric-powered racing cars designed, built and driven by schoolchildren aged 9-11.
Children in Years 5 and 6 were asked to submit designs for the car, taking their inspiration from the school’s pet rooster, Reg. The final design, created by the Bespoke Design Team at Rolls‑Royce Motor Cars, was an amalgamation of the three winning entries.
From Charlotte Hatton’s overall winner, they took the March School panels (finished in Wild Berry and Arizona Sun), chequered patterns and school March Hare and Reg the Rooster mascots. Anne Bahanan had the inspiration for the feathers, made by the Rolls-Royce Leathershop in conjunction with the children, that adorned the car. The car’s name, THE FREE RANGER, was the brainchild of Eddie Baldry, who also dreamed up the fried-egg motif on the seat and hub caps.
The car itself was built by the children from a kit supplied by the organisers, Greenpower Education Trust, a UK-based charity that uses motorsport to fire young people’s enthusiasm for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. The children, whose school is adjacent to the Home of Rolls-Royce, were supported by the marque’s apprentices, engineers, craftspeople and Bespoke designers during the design, build and testing process.
The moment of truth came on Sunday 8 July, when THE FREE RANGER and its intrepid drivers, pit crew and supporters went up against challengers from schools across Britain. Whilst not an overall winner, the car acquitted itself splendidly. This year’s ‘Gathering of the Goblins’ was the first to be held on the track at Dunsfold in Surrey, familiar to millions of TV viewers as the home of the BBC’s flagship motoring show, Top Gear. Technical support on race day was provided by current Rolls-Royce apprentices, Luke Padley and Adam Goff.
Andrew Ball, Head of Corporate Relations, Heritage and Philanthropy, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said, “We have helped March CE Primary School to design and build their annual Greenpower entry for several years; it is always a privilege to work with our local community, and a delight to see the children so keen, engaged and working happily as a team. As a company, we love to see this enthusiasm for technology in primary-age children: they are the designers, engineers and innovators of tomorrow, and it gives us real confidence and encouragement for the future of our industry.”