Purdue Motorsports




Purdue FormulaFrom steam locomotives in the 1800s, to the supersonic rockets of the space age, Purdue University students have always been interested in speed. Motorsports is a natural proving ground for the engineering knowledge and experience Purdue is famous for worldwide.

It’s no surprise that there are Boilermaker alumni all over the motorsports world. Two NASCAR crew chiefs, Chris Gabehart and Jon Hassler, are Purdue Mechanical Engineering grads. Many have also found their way to INDYCAR, such as Chip Ganassi’s Angela Ashmore, and the team at Juncos Hollinger Racing.

We’re also pioneering the next generation of racing technologies. Building on the 60-year karting history of the Purdue Grand Prix, Purdue hosted the first ever EVGrandPrix in 2009, and every year welcomes electric karting teams from around the world to Purdue’s home track. Boilers also have participated in the Indy Autonomous Challenge, designing full-size cars to autonomously race around the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Students build their own race cars every year as part of the annual SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Collegiate Design Series. This includes a year-long design process, manufacturing, testing, and racing against other universities. These teams are:

  • Since 1983, Purdue Baja SAE have built 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. In 2022 they finished 2nd overall among all 99 university teams from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America, and Asia.

  • 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.






IndyCar Intern Jennifer Short: Fully Committed

September 12, 2022
During the school year, Jennifer Short is a typical mechanical engineering student at Purdue. But when the racing calendar begins, her true passion for motorsports takes over. She discusses her recent internship with 14-time INDYCAR champs Chip Ganassi Racing.

Purdue Motorsports showcased on official This is Purdue podcast

August 18, 2022
Every year, the students of Purdue SAE design, build, and compete with custom race cars. This year, the Purdue Formula team finished 2nd among all competing universities. In this episode of the official This is Purdue podcast, we go behind the scenes of their first ever live unveiling event, and discuss why students devote their time to building race cars.

Podium finish for Purdue Formula

July 18, 2022
They say “slow and steady wins the race.” But does that apply to motorsports? For 30 years, Purdue Formula have been pushing their custom-built race car up the mountain, and in 2022, they reached their best-ever podium finish: 2nd place overall.

From the grandstands to pit row: Nathan O'Rourke

May 25, 2022
Nathan O'Rourke (BSME '04) has attended every Indy 500 since he was four years old. Today, he's the lead race engineer for for Andretti Autosport's No. 26 Gainbridge Honda, driven by Colton Herta.

Contact Us

Contact managing director Todd Nelson for information and sponsorship opportunities with Purdue Motorsports!

tnelson1@purdue.edu | 317-760-9789