Luke Bryant wins the Pit Stop Challenge

12 August 2014 Luke Bryant

A 14-year old Solihull School pupil has won a competition led by one of the biggest names in motorsport for his idea for boosting the performance of Formula 1 pit stop crews.

Luke Bryant showed how light affects a pit crew’s reaction time - and his solution was chosen from hundreds of entries to win the GSK-McLaren Pit Stop Challenge.

The competition, part of global healthcare company GSK’s programme for schools run in partnership with the McLaren Mercedes F1 team, challenged schools to use science to help their pit crew give their best performance at every race.

The judges, who included double Olympic champion Kelly Holmes and McLaren Chief Mechanic Neil Trundle, told Luke that they were “very impressed” by his “visionary thinking, unique insight and excellent presentation skills”.

Luke used his knowledge, research and investigation to prove that by altering the brightness entering the eye to a pre-proven optimum level through active visors, crew reaction times would be improved in comparison with wearing standard visors.

In his presentation at the GSK Human Performance Lab, he was able to show the judges that the milliseconds of reaction time the visors would save could mean the difference between success and failure in a Formula 1 race.      

Luke, who joined Solihull Junior School at the age of seven, was accompanied by Solihull physics teacher Betty Ford who was coordinating the co-curricular competition at the independent coeducational school, his brother Dylan, and his father Mark Bryant, along with the pupils from the schools that finished second and third in the challenge.

As part of his prize, the group was given a guided tour of the McLaren Technology Centre, where exciting design innovations for racing cars are developed, and Luke even had the chance to interview top McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen.

Luke said: “Winning this competition is the biggest thing that’s ever happened to me and being able to visit the technology centre was simply amazing. I’d like to think that I could work for McLaren-Mercedes when I’m older.”

Teacher Betty Ford commented: “Being able to relate what you learn at school to real careers in such an exciting technological environment was truly inspirational.”


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