Scottsdale Seniors Discover the Physics that Drives High Performance Cars

Scottsdale Prep February 2, 2024


Students at Barrrett-Jackson car show

Scott Shaughnessy, a teacher at Scottsdale Prep, had the opportunity to accompany his 12th-grade physics students to the renowned showcases at the Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson car show and auction. The week-long event is held at WestWorld, just a short walk from the Great Hearts campus, and includes a vast exhibitor marketplace and interactive displays from a large variety of sponsors, which pulls large crowds every year. the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company has been known worldwide for offering the finest selection of quality collector cars.

The students devoted more than four hours exploring a myriad of exhibits, which included turbo-charged rides with professional drivers on a racetrack in high-performance cars. Additionally, some students opted for an adventurous experience, riding in the Dodge TRX 700HP 4×4 on an off-road dirt track.

Exhibit at Barrrett-Jackson car show

But they were not just there to enjoy the exotic cars and thrilling shows. “The goal of the trip was to focus on the physics and engineering behind high performance auto design,” said Shaghnessy. “During the physics course, I try to tie in certain areas of auto engineering design and safety including, electric motors vs internal combustion, superchargers, turbo chargers, electrical systems, aerodynamics, brakes, tires, and airbags.”

Exhibit at Barrrett-Jackson car show

“It was really cool seeing the physics we learn in class applied to real world examples, such as the 4×4 truck ride in Dodge TRX and drifting in the Toyota Supra,” said Scottsdale Prep senior, Reese Mankins. “I also enjoyed seeing the mechanics of the jet engine model on display in STEM exhibit.” Added fellow classmate, Van Larson.


“I am so grateful for the opportunity to go to Barrett-Jackson,” said 12th grader Grace Ajame. “It was so much fun hanging out with friends and seeing what we study being applied, especially principles like force and energy.”

Students at Barrrett-Jackson car show

While the educational aspect remained central, it was evident that the students derived enjoyment from admiring the array of luxury cars on display. “I had so much fun! I loved looking at the RVs and sitting in some of the cars! The food was also great,” said senior Nandini Patel. “Hear me out,” said Eric Romanucci. “Jumping trucks with your teacher… need I say more?”

Students in a car at Barrrett-Jackson car show

This excursion was made possible through the generosity of Barrett-Jackson Headquarters, who donated all the admission tickets for this experience. This not only facilitated an enriching educational outing but also underscored the invaluable support and collaboration between educational institutions and industry leaders.

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