Northamptonshire schoolgirls get to ride in a Porsche and build a hoverboard at Silverstone

An exhilarating drive around a racetrack in a Porsche was one of the highlights for dozens of schoolgirls at Silverstone yesterday (Wednesday, July 10).

Thursday, 11th July 2019, 11:32 am
One of the Hunsbury Park Primary School pupils in a Porsche at the Dare To Be Different Event at Silverstone

The eight to 11-year-olds built a hoverboard, practised a pitstop on the clock and did their own post-race interviews, all courtesy of the Dare To Be Different charity which aims to inspire more girls to get into motorsport.

Famous female faces in Formula One gave their support, including Williams Martini Racing deputy team principal Claire Williams, Sky Sports F1 presenter Rosanna Tennant and test driver Tatiana Calderon.


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One of the Hunsbury Park Primary School pupils in a Porsche at the Dare To Be Different Event at Silverstone

The teachers from schools around Silverstone hailed the free scheme, saying their pupils really enjoyed the day at the Porsche Experience Centre.

Kislingbury Primary School teacher Neil Tyler said he and his pupils loved the ride in the sports cars and was impressed with the event.

One of the girls said: "The Porsche was the best, it was so fast but quite scary, much better than being at school!"

A recurring theme when talking to teachers was the delight at the event being free, other than transport, which they said was so important with school budgets being so tight.

Science coordinator at Hunsbury Park Primary School, Annell Hanekom, said her pupils had not stopped smiling as they compared the race and road Porsches in the showroom.

"We're focusing a lot on careers, especially in science, at school at the moment and this was a brilliant opportunity to bring the girls along as it ties into everything we're trying to do." she said.

"It's a hands-on experience, it's an opportunity they wouldn't usually have had and we're very grateful for the fact that this event is free as budgets in schools are very limited at the moment."


The main reason for the event was to broaden the girls' horizons about the potential careers they could pursue in science or motorsport.

Pupils from The Bliss Charity School in Nether Heyford were busy building a hoverboard in two teams, having to put their maths and problem-solving skills to the test.

One of their teachers, Lynsey Anderson, said: "They're starting to think about what they want to do when they're older and by the end of today it will give them an insight that there are lots of opportunities out there in what used to be male stereotyped fields.

"So hopefully by the end of the day they'll come away really enthused - it's been fab."

A host of ambassadors for Dare To Be Different came to help out, with Nathalie McGloin, the world's only tetraplegic driver, showing the girls her Porsche Club Championship car, and Rosanna showing them how to conduct post-race interviews with drivers.

Nathalie said: "They're so inquisitive and honest about the questions they ask so I'm hoping I can inspire them to think differently about what their opportunities are with the fact that they're female which shouldn't be a barrier."