Purdue Motorsports to unveil three new race cars on April 15
Since 1983, Purdue students have been involved in the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Collegiate Design Series. Beginning in the fall, students team up to design their own custom race cars, build them throughout the winter and spring, and race them against other universities in the summer.
As such, most of Purdue’s students and faculty never get the chance to see these race cars before the semester ends. That’s about to change.
“We thought 2022 was a good year to host a public event,” said Adam Busch, a senior in Electrical and Computer Engineering and the president of Purdue SAE. “For two years we’ve experienced life through a screen. Now it’s time to throw open the doors and invite everyone to see these amazing race cars up close.”
The April 15 event will take place at Fowler Hall, part of Purdue's Stewart Center complex. Doors open at 4:00, with the program beginning at 4:30. Three cars will be unveiled at the event:
- Purdue Baja SAE builds single-seat off-road race cars, designed to traverse any kind of terrain or obstacle.
- Purdue Formula SAE builds a single-seat Formula-style car with an internal combustion engine.
- Purdue Electric Racing builds a similar Formula-style car with electric motors, powered by a 300-volt battery pack, going 0-60 in under 4 seconds.
During COVID, many of the Purdue teams experienced their best results ever. Purdue Formula finished 3rd overall among all 132 university teams from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America, and Asia. Purdue Baja converted their car from two-wheel-drive to four-wheel-drive, even with limited access to machine shops because of the lockdown.
“We actually learned a lot during COVID,” says Adam, “we used it as an opportunity to examine our documentation procedures, so we can pass what we learn on to next year’s team.”
The event will also serve as the rollout of Purdue Motorsports, an organization which aims to solidify Purdue’s place in the motorsports world by using racing to empower students toward academic and professional achievement. Purdue boasts several prominent alumni in motorsports, including two NASCAR crew chiefs (Chris Gabehart and Jon Hassler); many INDYCAR engineers, such as Chip Ganassi’s Angela Ashmore; and a partnership with the newest INDYCAR team at Juncos Hollinger Racing. They also host the biggest electric karting event in the world, the EVGrandPrix.
“I’m so proud of these students,” said Todd Nelson, the managing director of Purdue Motorsports. “The SAE student organizations and SAE competitions provide an incredible experience for the students to develop their professional skills. They are, in effect, running a small engineering firm which requires them to apply everything they learn in the classroom to the very challenging and complex problem of designing and building a winning race car every year. I am looking forward to unveiling these cars on April 15, and then bringing home some trophies this summer!”
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