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IUPUI celebrates major milestones of nation's only B.S. in Motorsports Engineering Program

Justin Penix, IUPUI Motorsports Grad
Justin Penix, IUPUI Motorsports Grad

Published:

May 16, 2012

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The Motorsports Engineering Program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is celebrating big milestones this May. Just four years after the B.S. in Motorsports Engineering Program began, students have graduated and launched right into full-time engineering roles with professional race teams.

“IUPUI has always been a great resource for Panther Racing, allowing us to find fresh faces for our industry that still come equipped with the skills and knowledge we need,” said Nic Baumann, Panther Racing president. “I’ve always been impressed with the high level of employee or intern we find when working with IUPUI students. Our business demands that type of student. I always steer employers toward IUPUI as a solution for staffing demands.”

Offering the only Bachelor of Science degree in motorsports engineering in the nation, the program has taken off since it began in 2008. More than 100 students from around the country -- and even the world -- now call Indianapolis home as they work toward their motorsports dreams.

Grads and students are making the most of the program’s location in the "Racing Capital of the World," working with teams like Panther Racing, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, Dale Coyne Racing, Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Andretti Autosport and others as the teams undergo rigorous preparation for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," the Indianapolis 500.

“We’ve been incredibly pleased with the caliber and work ethic of the IUPUI Motorsports Engineering students who have worked with our team,” said Sarah Fisher, co-owner of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. “That’s why some of the most recent additions to our team are IUPUI grads. We’re thrilled to have them on board as we look forward to another great season of IndyCar.”

Beyond IZOD IndyCar, students have applied the Purdue engineering education they receive at IUPUI to special projects for NASCAR teams like Hendricks Motorsports and Top Fuel groups like Don Schumacher Racing. Top Fuel driver Cory McClenathan publicly praised IUPUI interns for the engineering improvements they contributed to his top fuel dragster’s history-making run in 2010.

Still others have spent time designing, building and racing karts for the Purdue Grand Prix. IUPUI teams this year swept all three top spots and have won the race four of the past five years. Students also designed, built and drove the champion kart in the first-ever electric vehicle grand prix, held at the Indianapolis Motors Speedway in 2011.

“Coming straight from IndyCar to the Motorsports Engineering Program at IUPUI, I’ve been incredibly impressed,” said Scott Raymond, IUPUI Motorsports Engineering professor and IndyCar engineering consultant. “They are incredibly sharp, ask great questions and aren’t afraid to try new ideas. And they really do have the drive needed to work the long, hard hours it takes to do well in the field.”

Other recent developments include the addition of a motorsports master's concentration and the announcement of a renewed partnership with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.