Updated: Feb 16, 2022
Students from Inspire Academy in LaFayette traveled to Columbus, Georgia on Saturday, February 12th to compete in the Columbus Grand Prix racing event. The Columbus Grand Prix was hosted by the “Sports Council of Columbus” at the Columbus Civic Center Complex. The Inspire Academy racing team competed throughout the day with multiple schools with hundreds of participants from across both Alabama and Georgia. The day concluded with a race day awards program that saw the Inspire Academy racing team take home their share of hardware awards.
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 team coaches are Mr. Seth Stehouwer and Mr. Tim Blanks that serve as teachers at Inspire Academy as well as assistant coach Brandi Burrows. Competitions included areas for Greenpower USA F24 electric car endurance racing, High School Advanced Custom Class Racing, and Middle School Intermediate Stock Class Racing.
The High School Advanced Custom Class Race called for the team to make significant modifications to a stock car kit with custom parts designed to improve both performance and efficiency. The Middle School Intermediate Stock Class Race saw the Inspire Academy students race a stock kit car donated by Honda Manufacturing. The younger racing team members are learning about the fundamentals of electric cars, racecar setup details, and tips to help determine the best possible outcome for their car. These include driving skills, car maintenance, and efficiency tips for successful competition in their class. Both of the teams competed in two race heats for their respective Advanced or Intermediate divisions.
The High School team won 1st place for the Endurance race with their Car #222 traveling a distance of 35 miles. The team finished in 2nd place overall for the entire competition. High School team members are (Captain) Connor Green, Jason Robinson, Michael Jones, Garrett Burrows, Harley Gosdin, Aaron Foster, Gabriel Gilbert, and Akasha Henderson. The Middle School team also captured 1st place for the Endurance race with their Car #223 traveling a distance of 36 miles. Middle School team members are (Captain) Anna Suchowalec, Cameron Kennedy, Timothy (Bryce) McDonald, Landon Smith, Lance Wright, Jayden Green, Arianna Strickland, Rowan Jordan, and Chelsea Clark.
The racing teams set up pit crew stops on what became pit road on the main infield for the racing track. All drivers went through the driver safety training meeting and cars were scrutinized closely for modifications to ensure compliance. Each car used a transponder to track the number of laps traveled during each of the four racing heats that were hosted for competition. Inspire Academy Principal, Dr. Tyler Nelson noted the racing team is a great activity for students participating in the school’s engineering program.
The next race for the Piedmont Motorsports Racing team from Inspire Academy will take place on Saturday, March 12, 2022, on the campus of Inspire Academy in LaFayette. The start time is set for 8 a.m. and the race day awards ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. C.S.T. Guests are welcome and admission is free on race day!
Information and Pictures Provided Special Thanks to Mr. Seth Stehouwer:
Pictured below: Coach Tim Blanks and Bryce McDonald work on demonstrating the use of a multimeter.
Pictured below: Coach Tim Blanks and Bryce McDonald work on demonstrating the use of a multimeter
Pictured below: Harley Gosdin (Standing) and Garrett Burrows prepare for the start of a race
Pictured below: Bryce McDonald and Cameron Kennedy work on installing batteries in preparation for their race.
Pictured below: Anna Suchowalec driving car #223, fending off a rival car from Longcane Middle School (#999).
Pictured below: is Cameron Kennedy Driving car #223 for Piedmont Motor Sports Racing Team.
Race Day Winners – Piedmont Motor Sports Team students from Inspire Academy: From Left-Right - Michael Jones, Garrett Burrows, Harley Gosdin, Anna Suchowalec, Arianna Strickland, Lance Wright, Landon Smith, Cameron Kennedy, Bryce McDonald