Students from Inspire Academy in LaFayette traveled to the Talladega Super Speedway on Saturday, May 20th to compete in the Greenpower F24 National Championship racing event. The Inspire Academy racing team competed throughout the day with 45 teams from around the United States. The day concluded with a race day awards program that saw the Inspire Academy racing team take home their share of hardware.
The students from Inspire Academy compete as The Piedmont Motorsports Racing Team comprised of students from across the Chambers County School District. All of the students take classes at Inspire Academy participating in the engineering and manufacturing programs. The Inspire Academy team is very excited to announce the transition from just Piedmont Motorsports to the expanded STEM outreach program, STEAM Teams.
Through the generous support of our sponsors, we are looking forward to expanding the opportunities offered to the students of Chambers County, to include racing teams and outreach programs for the younger grades and students outside of the Inspire Academy classes. Our sponsors for the past season included SOLV Energy, Heart of America Foundation, JC Colley Trucking, PF Moon Construction, OCV LLC, Schneider Electric, South Kennedy Flooring, and the Jump for Joy Fun Center. These sponsors and their partnership with the Chambers County Schools allowed the Piedmont Motorsports team to compete in five regional events and the national championships. The Piedmont motorsports cars traveled over 600 miles in competitions during the 2021/2022 season.
Racing on the road course in the infield of the Talladega Super Speedway, the High School team won 3rd place in the Endurance race with their Car #222 traveling 35 miles. The team finished in 3rd place overall for the entire competition. The Middle School team also captured 1st place for the Endurance race with their Car #223 traveling a distance of 36 miles.
The racing teams spent the last 6 weeks of the season rebuilding their cars and preparing for the national championships. It was an exciting time for the teams as they prepared to usher out the old and bring in the new era of STEAM Teams. Gone are the days of recycled sign boards, zip ties, and duct tape. Here are the days of one-off hand-built composite bodies. Over the intense six-week break from racing the students at Inspire Academy learned how to build molds and create their car bodies out of fiberglass and carbon fiber. Mr. Stehouwer reports that the response to the unveiling of the team’s new look was overwhelmingly positive and that the Piedmont Motorsports cars were one of the most talked-about things at the event. Inspire Academy Principal, Dr. Tyler Nelson noted the racing team is magnetic for students in the school’s engineering program while emphasizing that progress made this year would not have been possible without the financial support and commitment of CCSD Superintendent, Casey Chambley.
Additionally, he added a big shoutout that goes out to the team’s coaches for their investment in the students and the Piedmont Motor Sports Racing Program.
The Piedmont Motorsports team and their coaches are looking forward to providing two weeks of summer camp focused on introducing students from grades 3-7 to the racing program and building excitement for STEM education throughout the county. In addition to the summer camps, the Inspire Academy outreach team will be spending the summer break working with SOLV Energy and the Heart of America Foundation to launch STEAM Teams and plan out what the next few years of STEAM outreach and competitions will look like for the youth of Chambers County. Stay tuned for the exciting new opportunities, Chambers County Schools are going full STEAM ahead!