Sarah Dixon raised her hand to ask Max Chilton a question.
First, the driver of the No 8 Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Honda posed a question to the middle school student from Berkeley, California: “I see your name on your jacket. Are you related to my teammate?”
“That would be fun if I was,” she replied quickly in reference to four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon.
Chilton continued the congenial interaction with Bay Area middle school and high school students during the Honda STEAM Connections tour event on the UC Berkeley campus.
Conducted in collaboration with Berkeley Engineering’s Formula SAE program, the event showcased the science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) behind Honda’s Verizon IndyCar Series program and university engineering student projects.
Chilton, Honda Performance Development trackside engineer Matt Taylor and Cara Adams, chief engineer for Bridgestone Americas Motorsports, were the principal presenters during the formal program. Student groups also toured displays on the Hearst Mining Circle that included Chilton’s Honda-powered race car, Firestone Racing tires, and student builds such as a solar-powered vehicle and a to-scale steel bridge.
“It’s inspiring. You can spend hours in a classroom like I did, but having days like this – seeing the cars or talking to me – can give them inspiration to pursue an education in the sciences,” said Chilton, who will complete his second Verizon IndyCar Series season this week in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship-deciding race at Sonoma Raceway.
“I like to think I know a lot about cars, but projects like the CalSol car are just mind-blowing to see what college students are doing. Hopefully, this will have a lasting influence on all the younger people here.”
In July, CalSol, a campus solar vehicle team, won the Formula Sun Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, with its entry, Zephyr. The event included 18 college teams from across the nation competing in a…