General Motors is banking on 12 Detroit high schools to come up with a pit crew to assist its racing efforts at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France on June 16-18. Thanks to GM Racing's first Safety Innovation Challenge, the automaker should have little trouble filling pit row.
GM's challenge calls on a cadre of student research teams to spend a portion of the next two months writing a three- to five-page essay describing their vision of a race car safety system. Two five-member teams will win a trip to Le Mans to be the honorary pit crew.
'The trick will be blending creative thinking with basic engineering and scientific research,' says Herb Fishel, GM's director of racing. 'In the process, the students should get a sense that they can contribute to automotive safety while learning the enjoyment that comes from working with science.'
GM provided a Feb. 23 safety school at the Detroit Science Center to give about 75 students a head start on their projects. GM safety managers Don Taylor and Tom Gideon used videos, race cars, descriptive displays and two GM race drivers during the two-hour session to introduce the basics of safety engineering. In addition to the trip to France, GM will also award a $1,000 scholarship to the schools with the top three entries.