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Race car teams look to inspire middle schoolers

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Acura Team Penske driver Dane Cameron, Honda Performance Development engineer Eric Hsu and Michelin North America Motorsports Technical Director Ken Payne will be the featured presenters Oct. 9, during the Acura STEAM Connections Tour event at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville.

The 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. event at the Campbell Graduate Engineering Center at CU-ICAR will showcase the science, technology, engineering, arts and math — STEAM — behind the Acura sports car racing program and the automotive industry to more than 200 area middle school students, according to a news release.

Displays during group tours will include Cameron’s No. 6 Acura ARX-05 Daytona prototype and transporter; the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 race car and Meyer Shank Racing w/Curb-Agajanian transporter; Clemson Formula SAE and Formula Baja race cars; and the university’s Deep Orange 9 student prototype vehicle sponsored by Honda R&D Americas Inc., the news release said.

Clemson’s Deep Orange 9 program director and Kulwicki Endowed Professor in Motor Sports Engineering Rob Prucka also will address the students.

The Acura STEAM Connections Tour event will feature Cameron, Hsu and Payne discussing how STEAM is incorporated in all aspects of motorsports and conducting a question-and-answer session with students.

Cameron, the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech Championship Prototype champion, will co-drive the No. 6 Acura this weekend in the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta with two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya and 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud.

“Motorsports particularly the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship provide a great example of fun, real-life applications of STEAM education,” Cameron said in the news release. “From car design to race setups to in-race strategy, all aspects of motorsports draw from these areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Simply put, we could not function without engineers and personnel that have this background. While there are other jobs that utilize this type of learning, none will give you the competitive feeling of motorsports.”

“Motorsports are part of the DNA of Honda, and to succeed in motorsports you need talented, hard-working staff trained in the STEM disciplines,” T.E. McHale, manager of motorsports communications for American Honda Motorsports, said in the news release. “We realize that in order to compete and win at the highest levels of the sport, we must encourage and develop the next generation of engineers and support personnel. This program begins to reach out to those whom we seek to engage with Honda in the future.”

The Acura and Honda STEAM Connections Tour of universities across the nation, in its third year, is organized and managed by STEAM Sports Group.

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