A team of four 11-year-old pupils from Ysgol Tycroes in Ammanford, South Wales Primary school pupils from Carmarthenshire, South Wales, raced to victory in the Jaguar Primary Schools Challenge, one of the UK’s largest design and engineering school challenges, beating off stiff competition from thousands of school children across the UK.

The team of boys, named M1NT, with team members Owen Mayes, Harry Butcher, Pavethraa Bahitharan and Arujan Pulenthirathasan won first place in the National Final after designing, building and racing a miniature racing car which set a new world record with a 0.929 second performance. The team also impressed the judges with their communication skills, engineering knowledge and teamwork.

Two other teams from Wales were also winners at the National Finals, with ‘The Eliminators’ from Caedrew Primary School, Merthyr Tydfil taking the runners-up spot and ‘Super Stormers’ from Ysgol Bod Alaw, Colwyn Bay, collecting the Sponsorship and Marketing Award.

Over recent years, the Challenge has trebled participation with 15,000 young people aged 6-11 from schools across the UK participating in the programme in 2014-15. Teams spend up to six months developing and testing their racing cars, often with the support of local engineering companies. They then compete in regional finals held across the country to secure places in the national final. At each stage of the competition, teams are judged on specification, engineering, marketing, verbal presentation and performance in a speed race along a special track. After 26 regional finals the top 30 teams competed at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry, all vying for the prestigious Jaguar Primary Schools Challenge trophy and a VIP behind-the-scenes visit to Silverstone prior to the 2015 FORMULA 1 BRITISH GRAND PRIX, including a paddock tour with a chance to meet the F1 drivers and see their race cars up close.

Team captain Owen Mayes, aged 11, said, “We’re delighted to win the UK national final and are very proud to be taking home the trophy. I think our success is down to teamwork and lots of practice. In terms of the vehicle, our plastic wheels and axel helped us keep the vehicle lightweight and we used a Lego skeleton driver which was more aerodynamic than a traditional solid figure. As well as being fun, the Challenge has helped us gain confidence in our abilities and we’re now all considering engineering and design careers in the future.”

Teacher Rob Randal, added, “The school and I are very proud of ‘Team M1nt’ for not only winning the overall competition but also achieving the fastest ever track time. They’ve delivered a great performance and it’s been great to see them develop and recognize their different skillsets that made them a strong and capable team. My entire class took part in Jaguar Primary Schools Challenge in our Design and Technology lesson as it covers so many elements of the curriculum. The Challenge is a hugely enjoyable programme which makes learning STEM subjects fun and engaging.”

"Jaguar Land Rover wants to inspire more young people to become engineers through our school education programme to join our growing business and develop the next generation of sustainable vehicles and technologies", commented Les Ratcliffe, Head of Community Relations, Jaguar Land Rover. "Jaguar Primary School Challenge demonstrates the importance and relevance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects to the workplace and also gives young people the chance to learn about real-life design and engineering processes. By working with students as young as five, we hope to encourage more youngsters to develop a passion for STEM subjects and pursue careers in engineering. Congratulations to all of the pupils who have participated in the competition, especially overall winners ‘Team Mint’, who worked very hard to secure victory."

Full list of winners:

UK National Champions

Team M1NT, Ysgol Tycroes, Ammanford, Carmarthenshire

Fastest Car Award

Runners Up

The Eliminators, Caedrew Primary School, Merthyr Tydfil

Third place

Flashing Flames, Whitehill Community Academy, Halifax

Portfolio & Pit Display Award

Best Engineered Car Award

Furiously Fast 1, Coundon Primary School, Coventry

Best Verbal Presentation Award

Balnamore Rocker Racers, Balnamore Primary School, Ballymoney, County Antrim

Sponsorship and Marketing Award

Super Stormers, Ysgol Bod Alaw, Colwyn Bay, Conwy

Research and Development Award

Rip Rocket, Crackley Hall School, Kenilworth

Team Identity Award

Leaping Leopards, Kettering Buccleuch Academy, Kettering

Women in Engineering Award

Chasing Cheetahs, Bilbrook CE Middle School, Bilbrook, Wolverhampton

Best Additional Challenge Award

Turbo, Wheatley Lane Methodist Primary School, Fence, Burnley

Judges Discretionary Award                  Turbo Types, Sutton at Hone Primary School,  Dartford, Kent

The Jaguar Primary School Challenge takes place with lead sponsor, Jaguar Land Rover supported by WNT, The Instituition of Engineering and Technology, Young Engineers, Denford and LUKE 1977.

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