Formula 1 star lends support to Cheltenham Prep racers

The Cheltenham Prep Electric Racer

The Cheltenham Prep Electric Racer - Credit: Archant

“The world of motorsport is an inherently difficult one for young people to get involved in and programmes such as this are needed to make it more accessible.

Ex-Formula 1 star, Mark Blundell, has offered his support to pupils at Cheltenham College Preparatory School in their quest to become motorsport champions alongside advancing their understanding of engineering.

For the first time in the School’s history boys and girls at Cheltenham Prep have designed and built their own electric kart.

The Karting Club, in its inaugural year, has allowed pupils to learn about construction and maintenance, electronics, materials, race driving and teamwork. Under the direction of George Boyd, Head of Design and Technology, and with much focus and passion for this new initiative, their hard work has culminated in success at their first ever Greenpower Racing event, winning awards in several categories. A fantastic achievement and testament to great team work.

Karen and Tom Ellis who are parents at Cheltenham Prep, and whose business is motorsports related, were delighted to fund the initiative in its first year. It has been designed to broaden the knowledge of the pupils and give an opportunity to couple engineering experience with the thrill of motor racing. Karen and Tom were particularly pleased to see the girls become so engaged in an area that they may have previously felt was not open to them.

Through their connections in motorsport they told their story to Mark who along with the Ellis’s kindly agreed to fund a second kart.

Mark Blundell commented: “I am delighted to be supporting the Cheltenham College Preparatory School karting project and sadly I can’t attend the forthcoming fete as I have to be at the Le Mans 24 hour race supporting my drivers. The world of motorsport is an inherently difficult one for young people to get involved in and programmes such as this are needed to make it more accessible. I am delighted that we have girls taking part too as our industry is very keen to open opportunities for women joining motorsport and engineering roles in the future.

As a child, I was lucky enough to get behind the wheel which gave me a real passion and ambition for four wheels and I hope that this project provides current students with that very same opportunity. Motorsport is about so much more than what you do behind the wheel, it has taught me lessons that I could never have experienced within the classroom and this programme is another example of Cheltenham Prep going above and beyond to give their students the best possible opportunities for career options”.

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George Boyd, added: “We are overwhelmed with the support we have had for this exciting project. The club gives each child the opportunity to discover new interests and develop the key values of participation, perseverance, creativity and empathy as they work together as a team to overcome such things as design challenges. We may even be inspiring a future motor racing star!”

Cheltenham residents can meet the stars of The Prep Electric Karting Team, explore an array of cars ranging from autonomous, electric, modern, classic and racing cars, plus drive a Formula 1 simulator kindly loaned by MB Partners, Mark’s Company, at the school’s fete on Saturday June 16. The fete is organised by the Friends of The Prep and begins at 12.00pm.

Cheltenham College has a number of former-pupils already racing in national categories. This year, Jamie Chadwick, best known for being the first ever female and youngest winner of the British GT Championship, is racing in British Formula 3 and presenting for Sky Sports.

For more information, visit the Cheltenham College website here.