Indy Lights driver Dalton Kellett inspires next generation of racing engineers through STEM partnership
Racing drivers often inspire a new generation to get behind the wheel, but Andretti Autosport's Dalton Kellett equally wants to inspire them in engineering through a partnership with Partners Driving STEM.
Kellett, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering Physics from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, has made it his mission throughout his career to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education in conjunction with racing. For this, Ten80 Education's RC racing and engineering program for students is the perfect match.
“There’s an imperative for you to leverage your platform to do some good,” Kellett told the TSN Racing Pod. “For me, STEM education is the cause that I believe in. I’ve always been involved to a certain extent with this kind out outreach, but this is the first formal partnership with an actual program.”
Kellett hopes to reach students and promote STEM education through showing them the practical use of their studies specifically in relation to auto racing.
“For me it really was only when I saw the application of it,” he explained. “I was like ‘oh, this is cool. I can actually do something with this.’ When it was just theoretical and on paper, I wasn’t too bothered.”
“Once I saw you could build race cars, rockets, airplanes, and helicopters, I thought this is pretty sweet! I should try harder!”
While the aim is to inspire kids to become involved in engineering, Kellett maintains that his own education has played into how he approaches racing.
“When the helmet goes on and you’re in the race car, having an engineering degree isn’t going to make you faster per se,” he said. “I like to go into detail, and having that extra bit of knowledge has helped me. Especially when you’re testing in the offseason and doing that kind of stuff, you can relate to the engineer a bit better.”
The announcement to have the logo displayed on Kellett’s #28 Mazda took place in Toronto, a place he calls home, ahead of Honda Indy Toronto. Currently residing in Indianapolis, Kellett revels in the opportunity to come home in IndyCar’s sole international race.
“We have 300 people coming up between sponsors, friends, family, and all that,” Kellett said. “To see people walking around in t-shirts with my name on it, it’s just a cool feeling. To be the hometown guy is pretty fun.”
Despite the personal pleasure of coming home, Kellett is still all business when it comes to the race.
“It’s always an exciting track,” he said. “It presents a lot of challenges, the bumps and all that.”
”It’s always cool going down Lakeshore Boulevard at 170 miles per hour.”