SBRS: Class in session at Laguna Seca Raceway

Over 100 students from Buena Vista Middle School exchanged one lab environment for another when they day-tripped to Laguna Seca Raceway for a crash course in science and physics. Salinas teacher Catherine Coward brought the idea to merge classroom...

Over 100 students from Buena Vista Middle School exchanged one lab environment for another when they day-tripped to Laguna Seca Raceway for a crash course in science and physics. Salinas teacher Catherine Coward brought the idea to merge classroom and cars to the Skip Barber Racing School, who hosted the youngsters at the historic Monterey track. The intent was to introduce students to physics by teaching them concepts essential to racing but foreign to everyday motorists.

Skip Barber instructor Jeff Rodrigues led the session for the group, interpreting scientific terms like acceleration, downforce, slip angle and weight transfer. Rodgrigues addressed how physics applies to real world situations using the backdrop of school cars to illustrate the point. Safety and engineering were also discussed in the class. After the hourlong lecture, students were shuttled around the circuit in vans and then treated to an up close inspection of racing and driving school vehicles.

While the students were years away from active licenses, all could relate to the idea of fast cars in motion.

"It was pretty cool," said 13-year old Steven Bunker. "In the classroom they teach you the basics, and it's a bit boring. Being here makes it more fun."

- Andrew Torres

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Skip Barber