Purdue Motorsports reveals four brand-new student-built race cars

This year's Purdue Motorsports reveal event is bigger than ever! Purdue students will unveil FOUR new custom-built race cars that will compete against other universities this summer. The event is open to the public, and will take place in Loeb Playhouse on Tuesday, April 4. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. with the program starting at 5:30 p.m.



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 all changed last year, when Purdue Motorsports hosted a live reveal event in a packed theater full of students, faculty, corporate sponsors, and other invited guests.

“We thought 2022 was a good year to host a public event,” said Todd Nelson, Managing Director of Purdue Motorsports. “For two years these students experienced life virtually through a laptop screen. We were thrilled to throw open the doors and invite everyone to see these amazing race cars up close.”

This year's event will be even bigger, revealing four brand-new race cars that have been designed, built, and test-driven by Purdue students. The April 4 event will take place at Loeb Playhouse, part of Purdue's Stewart Center complex (public parking is available at the Grant Street parking garage, 120 Grant St.) Doors open at 5:00, with the program beginning at 5:30.

Here are the four 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 320-volt battery pack, going 0-60 in under 4 seconds.
  • Purdue Solar Racing builds a car entirely powered by solar cells, built for endurance rather than speed.

Many of these Purdue teams experienced their best results ever last year. Purdue Baja finished 6th, while Purdue Formula scored a podum finish of 2nd. Purdue Solar Racing has been winning competitions since 1991, but this year's entry will be their first in over a decade. "I think everyone will be excited to see what the revived Solar team has come up with," said Nelson.

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 many opportunities for student internships with race shops like Penske and Juncos Hollinger Racing.

“I’m so proud of these students,” said Nelson. “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 4, and then bringing home some trophies this summer!”


Writer: Jared Pike, jaredpike@purdue.edu, 765-496-0374

Source: Todd Nelson, tnelson1@purdue.edu


Watch last year's Purdue Motorsports reveal event!