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Want to appeal to middle schoolers? Get a cool car

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Take 200 middle schoolers; add a few fancy race cars and a driver; and throw in some engineering and tire science for good measure, and youve got one of the more intriguing get-kids-into-STEAM efforts we’ve seen.

The Acura STEAM Connections Tour will come to the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville on Tuesday. The tour, which visits universities across the nation, is organized and managed by STEAM Sports Group.

Acura Team Penske driver Dane CameronHonda Performance Development engineer Eric Hsu and Michelin North America Motorsports technical director Ken Payne will speak with middle schoolers from the Upstate, showing them the science, technology, engineering, arts and math behind the Acura sports car racing program and the automotive industry in general.

What 12-year-old who saw Cars (or Cars 2 or Cars 3) would not be impressed by all this hardware:

  • 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.
  • Clemson’s Deep Orange 9 student prototype vehicle. Can you say concept car?

We dont know one who wouldnt be at least a little wowed. Granted we dont actually know that many 12-year-olds right now, but we stand by our assertion. Cars are cool.

Side note: Cameron will co-drive the No. 6 Acura this weekend in the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta with Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud. We have no idea how that works. Backseat driving? Passenger-side driving? Thats too many steering wheels. Maybe the other two are just giving directions. Wed watch that.

Wondering how exactly STEAM weaves into auto racing? Cameron enlightens us: 

“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,” he said in a news release. 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.”

Now youre speaking our language.

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