IUPUI students seeking to impress at local racing event

IUPUI students prepping vehicle for SCCA championships at IMS. (WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS Ind. (WISH) – This weekend the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) championships are going on at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A team made up of students is making a run at the title. SCCA is the country’s largest amateur racing association and Students from the Motor Sports Technology program at IUPUI could take home the trophy.

It’s the opportunity students from IUPUI’s motor sports technology program have been waiting for for two years. It’s a chance to race a car they built from scratch.

At IMS earlier this week, the team put on the final touches and making final adjustments for their 1991 Mazda Miata. The program started in 2008 and leaders always thought they would add a racing element for students. Then about two years ago, the SCCA announced their championships were going to be at IMS this year.  For the instructor, Chris Finch, he saw it as a great chance to showcase the program and the student’s work.

“We collectively got together.  We need to compete here in our backyard we need to showcase our program, not only nationally, but everyone here in Indianapolis as well,” said Finch.

“This is really an amateur-level racing that we are racing at, but we try to bring as much of a professional level to it as we can.” said graduate student Andrew Jefferson. “So, just looking at our car and how we conduct ourselves on the track compared to the other competitors, I think you can see the difference here and what makes this program different compared to the other programs here.”

The team earned the spot for this weekend’s runoffs by competing over a whole season of SCCA competition, including two wins in April at Virginia Motorsports Park.

Over the past two years, about 15 kids have worked on this one car. IUPUI is up against 44 other cars entered in the same “F production class”.

The team is doing well. On their four days of qualifying they’ve finished about fifth every time. Friday, the race is scheduled for 2:35 p.m.