Porsche Supports All-Girl Racing Team Headed to World Championships

June 28th, 2012 by

For the first time in history, an all-female team comprised of high school freshmen, won the national competition at Michigan Speedway. In a sport traditionally dominated by men, Team Shift, comprised of Kelly Fitzgerald, Sabine Saldanha, Claire McCoy and Anna Awwald, now prepare for the World Championships in Abu Dhabi at the end of October, where they will represent the United States against 38 other teams.

Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) employees had the rare opportunity to meet the Formula One racing team, who dropped by the Atlanta headquarters on June 22nd. The four young women are from the Greater Atlanta area and compete in F1 for Schools which is part of the largest and most successful school-based science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) program in the world.

F1 in Schools challenges students aged 9 to 19 to design, build, and race a Formula One model car that is catapulted via CO2 cartridges down a track of only about 30 feet. Due to the short track distance, one can visualize that victory and defeat can be determined by 1/100 of a second.

Using the latest CAD methods and aerodynamic computer programs, the girls are building a completely new and further developed race car. Rather than a high-tech laboratory, their workshop is a family garage and instead of highly specialized engineers, they rely on their own creativity and imagination.

“F1 in Schools and the Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) International has provided Team Shift with an educational experience well beyond the classroom,” said Team Shift coach Liz Fitzgerald. “They have had the opportunity to not only apply their engineering, technology and design skills but also learn the power of teamwork. These are lessons they will carry throughout their lives. Participating in Abu Dhabi will be the pinnacle of the team’s racing endeavors, but to get there, we are in dire need of further sponsorships and individual donations, however small.”

Porsche Cars North America is supporting Team Shift’s efforts to promote engineering and technical professions among high school students. PCNA’s German parent company, Porsche AG, is a main proponent of the German government’s initiative “Girls for Cars” where automotive apprenticeships are dedicated to female candidates.

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