Czech Horizon Hydrogen Grand Prix Team Aims for Victory
As part of our series investigating the exciting and varied world of the Horizon Hydrogen Grand Prix (H2GP) – we caught up with Jan Frybert, a teacher at the Automotive Vocational School in Brno, Czech Republic. Jan has been directing an H2GP team for around 7 years – and regularly schedules reunions where past H2GP students can meet those participating in the current season and give them tips.
So, Jan, how long have you been enjoying fuel cell racing with the Horizon Hydrogen Grand Prix?
Our school’s been participating in the Horizon Hydrogen Grand Prix since 2016. I’ve been leading this team since then, and we were so excited to learn that our first cohort of students has now graduated university.
Watching the students participating in the program - what do you think is the best aspect of the program for them?
What I really love about the program is that students learn delegation and teamwork skills. Often the most driven students believe they can accomplish everything by themselves. With this program, they learn that even if they excel in a certain subject, they can’t do everything on their own – they have to rely on others. This is a great skill that prepares them well for future careers.
You’ve been an H2GP team leader for over 7 years. What made you stay and participate in the program for so long?
I love to work with the students – they are so talented and driven. I can see they enjoy the program very much. They are engaged in the whole exercise, not only the development of the technology inside the car but the entire process of creating an innovative car body, working together to take turns driving the car, and preparing to demonstrate their car in front of the judges at the race. It’s really a joy to see them so involved.
How do the team feel about their prospects this year?
We finished 3rd in the Czech Final last year, missing out on World Final Qualification by only 4 laps out of over 1000 completed. This was a true disappointment to our team – but it was at this moment we realised we wanted to become one of the best teams in the entire world. So this year we will try even harder to qualify for the World Final and make it to Las Vegas. We practice driving our car every week, fine-tuning it. We’ve had lots of intense development over the last few months. We’ve added lots of technology to the car and made it our own unique creation. I can see that when the students assemble the car themselves, they put a lot of effort into the process and handle the car with care.
We’re still in touch with students who completed the program 2-3 years ago, and we even meet them every year at an annual reunion. Kids who graduated 6 years ago join as well, and current team members talk about their experiences. I think it's good for current team members to hear about their experiences, and talk with them about H2GP – and it’s also good for the younger students to see how far their older peers have gone in life with the skills they’ve learned from the H2GP program.
The participation of Jan's team in the race was possible due to the continued support of our Czech partners who are dedicated in bringing renewable energy education to students across the Czech Republic. Moravia Steel, ORLEN Unipetrol Foundation, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech, Clean Planet Foundation, and the Sustainability Council – on behalf of all the future Czech innovators you support, thank you!