Lug Nuts and Lap Times: Recap of Week 6 Summer Camp

This week in the World of Speed Summer Camps we raced, built and had in-depth conversations about the inner workings of cars. The eldest age group we've ever had, all students were 16 years-old with the exception of returning student Porter, who was 13 and had participated in the Racing 101 class last week. “I came back because I wanted to get better,” he explained.

The Racing 201 program jumped right in on the first day with racing terminology and race film then graduated onto RC cars. “Scale model racing is just as good as the real thing. All the same parts and ideas are the same, only smaller.” observed our students together. They next tried their hand at our state-of-the-art racing simulators. Rob reflected at the end of the week: “The simulators really helped me visualize the racing line.” That knowledge came in handy once we made it out to Pat’s Acres Racing Complex. Immediately our students were close and competitive on the track. “This is way different (than the simulators) in a good way. You can hear it, see it and feel it.” said Rob. By the third attempt at the track, they were laying down very consistent lap times within the low 50 second range.

In the shop, the Racing 201 group took a closer look inside a real racecar by putting together a quarter midget donated by Biggs racing. Our chief mechanical instructor, Brayden commented: “It’s the way that I learned. Hands on is best to figure out how it all goes together.” Through lots of grease and scheming, they were able to complete the car with the parts available.

Small numbers of students endured an abundance of one-on-one instruction and lots of hands-on activities. That was especially helpful with our Introduction to Automotive Care course where the students had the chance to work on their own cars. First, the group practiced learning the parts of our RC cars. When they moved onto the real deal, twins, John and Matthew agreed: “It is better if we know how to work on our own car in case we break down. Now we don’t have to pay someone to do something that we know how to do.” We gave them the parts, tools and know-how in this program to change their own oil, air filters, brakes and other fluids. While tinkering away, all realized this was their first time really becoming familiar with the inner workings of cars in general. These students had the chance to put together and inspect a disassembled small block Chevy engine (donated by Tom Leib, and thank you). By the end of the week, these students left with enough capability and confidence to tune up their vehicles themselves.

Students in Introduction to Automotive Care course didn’t just toil away with their heads under the hood, but spent a few days out at the Pat’s Acres Racing Complex learning about the functionality of handling. “I was really enjoying myself out there,” said Matthew. Towards the end of the week the Introduction to Automotive Care group learned how to weld by watching videos and with hands-on experience. Clearly it was a productive and instructive week here at the World of Speed.