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A group of Galway students became the first in the county to combine motorsport and STEM education subjects when they took part in the new Go Girls karting initiative.

Girls from Dominican College, Taylors Hill, learned about the science behind motorsport before getting behind the wheel themselves last week at Pallas Karting near Loughrea.

It was the first ever staging of the Go Girls Karting initiative in Galway, which is run by Motorsport Ireland and Formula Female and will ultimately provide over 1,000 girls aged 13-16 from all over Ireland with similar sporting and educational experiences.

At the Tynagh venue, which is a Motorsport Ireland affiliated track and holds multiple rounds of the Motorpsort Ireland Karting Championship, the students completed interactive workshops which aligned practical STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) subjects with motorsport. This included building a data logger to analyse kart performance, which they could really relate to once they saw the data live, as well as changing tyres and recording tyre temperatures and pressures.

Speaking afterwards, a lot of the students expressed surprise about the amount of science and maths which goes into preparing and running a kart. Many of them said they were now keen to do the computer science module available to them in fourth year.

One student said: “Time went by too quickly for my liking. I realised I love karting. This was my first time and I will be going again. It was really informative. I enjoyed seeing the science behind karting and the different statistics about women in motorsport. It was a great day.”

After the classwork, the girls got to put into practice what they had learned in the classroom – and compete against each other and their talented classmate – during an introduction to kart driving on the track.

Another participating student said: “I didn't think I would be able to drive the Karts at all, but I found it really exhilarating. I never knew Maths could be so important and it was an eye opener to learn that there are a lot of areas in motorsport other than driving. I learned how to change a tire and how engineering plays a big role in improving the performance of the car. I also learned that there are so many different career opportunities to do with STEM.”

Go Girls is led by Ireland World Cup hockey star Nicci Daly, who has worked as a data engineer for the Indycar Team, Juncos Racing. She’s also the niece of former F1 and Indycar driver, Derek Daly.

Following the completion of the two-days, Nicci said: “The mission of Go Girls is to ‘engage, educate and empower’ females to compete in motorsport and to promote the importance of STEM, the role it plays in the sport and possible career opportunities. It was so encouraging to see so many of the girls expressing an interest in taking up subjects like computer science which they would not have considered before.”

“The Go Girls Karting Initiative is designed to drive visibility and active participation by highlighting positive female role models who are successful in motorsport, other sports, and related education. It is rewarding to see the positive reaction to. When it came to the STEM workshop, students were intrigued about the Data Engineer role and what the job involves. They were interested to know the steppingstones to working with a team and the different college courses that would be suitable to achieve a career in Motorsport. It was great to see many of those who were here having a greater interest in STEM and how it can really enhance their future prospects even at this young age.”

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