A TEAM of Auchenharvie Academy pupils walked away from the national finals of an engineering competition with their heads held high after earning praise from judges.

The six classmates took part in the F1 in Schools event in Birmingham earlier this month after making it through the Scottish finals at professional class - the highest the pupils can present at.

The STEM challenge sees youngsters design and manufacture a model Formula One car and the Stevenston-based team Horizon Racing - made up of Jamie Johnson, Lewis Vick, Ryan Watt, Taylor Robertson, James Cairns and Alicia Harrigan - was thrilled to pick up the Judges Choice award at the recent presentation.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Team Horizon RacingTeam Horizon Racing (Image: Image supplied)

Design and technology teacher Ashleigh McKeown, who led the team, said: "This was Horizon Racing's first time competing, so to get to the UK finals was a tremendous achievement; the majority of schools who compete have been for years.

"We didn't expect to be winning anything, we went along for the experience, to learn more and gain some feedback for future years.

"Our pupils really impressed the judges throughout the whole competition and as a result we won the Judges Choice award.

"The pupils were so proud of their achievement. Competing against the most elite schools in the UK did not phase our pupils, they took it all in their stride.

"To walk away with this award was an outstanding achievement and more than we ever imagined."

The pupils got to meet and network with prestigious companies such as F1, Aston Martin, Bugatti and Denford, while team member Jamie impressed Aston Martin's head of development and has already been in contact with him regarding future links.

An online fund-raiser was launched at the end of last year and around £500 was donated to help the team with uniform costs, pit displays and travel and accommodation for the Birmingham event.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: The Auchenharvie Academy pupils impressed the judges at the F1 in Schools eventThe Auchenharvie Academy pupils impressed the judges at the F1 in Schools event (Image: Image supplied)

The pupils plan to compete again at the Scottish finals in February and are seeking further sponsorship to support them.

Miss McKeown added: "As a school, we are so proud of the pupils for their commitment to the competition and all their hard work to get to this level.

"The pupils managed to gain sponsorship to purchase the design and technology department a 3D printer which will majorly enhance future learning and teaching in Auchenharvie Academy.

"The impact they have had on the school is huge."

READ MORE: Auchenharvie Academy pupils launch fund-raising drive ahead of F1 in Schools finals