Race day arrives
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It’s race day.
The Diverse Power Grand Prix, which features dozens of high-school and middle-school race teams, will be contested today on Saturday in LaGrange.
The teams arrived in LaGrange on Friday to take some practice runs and get a feel for the course and attend different meetings, and the competition will be held today on a course at LaGrange College.
Teams from Long Cane and Gardner Newman will compete in the middle-school division.
The electric cars are built and maintained by students at the schools.
Members of the teams have different responsibilities, whether they’re driving, helping maintain the car, or coming up with designs to make the cars more efficient.
Long Cane has two race teams.
Team 000 began racing last spring, and Team 999 raced for the first time last fall.
Also this school year, Gardner Newman has started its own race team, as has Callaway Middle School.
The local teams have traveled across the Southeast to compete, and now they’ll get to do it in their own backyard.
“I’m really excited that we’re actually hosting a race,” said Summer Horne, a member of Team 000. “We go to these races, and we never thought about hosting a race, and now we are.”
At the competitions, it’s not just about the team that goes the fastest.
Part of the score is also based on a presentation each team has to give.
“What’s neat about this program, it’s not just build a race car and go race,” said Matthew Graham, a teacher at Long Cane who oversees the school’s race teams. “That’s cool, but there’s so much more that you can tie in. When you go to a race, you can win a race, but that’s only 50 percent of the total points. The other 50 percent is presentation, where the team has to give a business plan, a marketing plan, what design choices did you make on the car, and why did you make those choices. They have to introduce themselves and explain their jobs. So, the public speaking aspect of it is big.”
The action gets started today with a high-school race at 8:45 a.m., and the first middle-school race is at 10:30 a.m.
Also today, there will be pit-crew challenges in both divisions.
There will be an awards ceremony at 5 p.m.
8:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. – High school race 1
8:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. – Pit crew challenge – middle school teams
10:30 a.m. to noon – Middle school race 1
10:30 a.m. to noon – Pit crew challenge – high school teas
1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. – High school race 2
3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. – Middle school race 2
5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. – awards ceremony