Premier Inn Middle East is motoring ahead with its winter sports campaign, starting with the sponsorship of the winning team in the 2023 Formula Ethara junior racing team Rookie category.
Premier Inn helped a group of young entrepreneurs from Dubai’s Victory Heights Primary School race their way to victory with the design, build, marketing and testing of their miniature racing car.
Formula Ethara, a UAE schools project led by the organisers of Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and Yas Marina Circuit, educates youngsters how business works in the real world. Participants must design a car, come up with a team identity and find sponsorships, before presenting their business case and car concept to judges.
Premier Inn sponsored the winning team – Limitless Speed – as part of its commitment to supporting educational initiatives, community events and sport across the Middle East.
Simon Leigh, Managing Director, Premier Inn Middle East, said: “Premier Inn strives to be a force for good in all we do, including helping the youngsters of today to become the leaders of tomorrow. I was hugely impressed by the young racers’ pitch to Premier Inn. Not only did they show brilliant design skills and enthusiasm for their work, but they also proved they have a head for businesses and are aware of the importance of sustainability in today’s world. It was a pleasure to support this brilliant team of young entrepreneurs – and I am over the moon that they have crossed the finishing line in first place.”
Pictured: (L-R) Pratibha Bankar, Cluster General Manager Premier Inn Abu Dhabi, James Emslie, Marcos Ortiz, Noah Kemble, Simon Leigh, Managing Director, Premier Inn Hotels Middle East
The Limitless Speed team – comprising 11 year olds Noah Kemble, James Emslie and Marcos Ortiz – competed against 53 other schools from across the UAE. Their winning pitch was judged on its verbal and digital presentations, as well as the car itself, which was designed using science, engineering, technology and mathematical skills. There was also a focus on sustainability and how motor racing can contribute to climate change.
Paul Bray, Manager, Yas in Schools, said: “Formula Ethara, meaning ‘excite’ in Arabic, is one of our most popular and captivating educational programmes. Our classroom racing team challenge encourages students to develop 21stcentury skills in the STEM subjects of sciences, technology, engineering, arts and maths – and a passion for design and manufacturing in their early years. On race day, the youngsters test their cars on our special Formula Ethara Racetrack. This year’s entries were more impressive than ever, but the Limitless Speed team were the clear winners in all aspects of their work. Congratulations to everybody involved!”
The students’ year-long Formula Ethara extra-curricular activity was taught by Matthew Prosser, Year 2 Teacher and Deputy Head of Science at Victory Heights Primary School. He said: “Formula Ethara was a huge success at Victory Heights this year, as it allowed us to empower young minds and ignite involvement from the community. Through innovative preparation and boundless curiosity, our students unlocked new realms of learning, culminating in team Limitless Speed taking first place in the Formula Ethara Rookie category. I am also incredibly proud and excited that the school will take part in the project again next year – this time in the Professional category – as we aim to further build on our wonderful success of this year’s event.
Marcos Ortiz, 11, from the Limitless Speed team, said: “We asked Premier Inn about sponsorship because they are known for supporting school initiatives and community events, plus as a family we often go to Mr Toad’s to watch live sport! Designing our car and working on our business pitch was a brilliant experience, and we’re really grateful to the team at Premier Inn for believing in us and supporting us through our Formula Ethara campaign.”
Premier Inn has shared the Limitless Speed team’s winning journey in a video, covering the youngsters’ progress from their initial pitch to first place on the racetrack.
The junior racers scheme comes hot on the heels of Premier Inn’s young hoteliers initiative held in 2022, when the UAE’s hospitality stars of the future discovered what it takes to work at Britain’s biggest hotel brand. The children experienced real life situations as they took on the roles of junior chef, receptionist, barista, lifeguard, waiter, housekeeping team and guests.
The company also encourages budding young artists in their creativity with its annual Ramadan art competition, with more educational initiatives in the pipeline under its force for good campaign.