Purdue, USAC to produce International Collegiate evGrandPrix

December 16, 2014  


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Jimmy Simpson waves the checkered flag after winning the 2013 Purdue International evGrandPrix. (Photo contributed)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - USAC – the United States Auto Club – has announced it will partner with Purdue University to produce the International Collegiate evGrandPrix.

The fifth International evGrandPrix will be held in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.                        The event, started at Purdue, features electric-powered go-karts designed and built by college teams from around the world. They compete in a 50-lap race and are judged on performance, energy efficiency and engineering design.

"USAC is excited about this partnership with Purdue, where USAC will sanction the International Collegiate evGrandPrix," said USAC CEO Kevin Miller. "Obviously, motorsports takes many forms, and karting has produced many of our champions through the years. We are excited about what we can offer in terms of on-site assistance for this event."

Jim Caruthers, Skidmore Professor of Chemical Engineering at Purdue, is the academic lead for the evGrandPrix.

"The evGrandPrix has provided the opportunity for college students at Purdue as well as students at other colleges and universities across Indiana, the nation and the world to participate in the technology and excitement of motorsports," he said.  "However, the most important feature of the evGrandPrix is that it provides an exciting, hands-on engineering design project that complements the material that students learn in their lecture classes."

The evGrandPrix was started in 2009 as part of a multi-institution program with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. The goal of the project was to educate and train the workforce needed to design, manufacture and maintain advanced electric vehicles and the associated infrastructure. This goal includes creating online courses related to batteries, fuel cells, motors, controls, electric vehicles and environmental impact.

The first evGrandPrix was held in April 2010 on the Purdue campus. In 2011, a second event, the International evGrandPrix, was added at IMS in May and attracted teams from across the United States and from Europe. The 2014 International evGrandPrix drew two teams from China and a team from Canada.

Currently at Purdue, students are offered three classes that relate directly to electric vehicles and the planning for a major event like the evGrandPrix. The courses, which cross multiple disciplines, include Introduction to Motorsports, Electric Vehicle Technology and Major Event Planning.

USAC is one of the sanctioning bodies of auto racing in the United States, including the Silver Crown Series, National Sprint Car Series, National Midget Series, Ignite Ethanol Fuel Series, .25 Midget Series, and Traxxas TORC Series 

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu

Source: Jim Caruthers, 765-494-6625, caruther@purdue.edu 

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