Greenpower Indy driven by SCCA – design and race competition

UPDATE This article was updated with a photo.

A Greenpower electric car
A Greenpower electric car

05/28/16 The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in conjunction with INDYCAR and the GreenpowerUSA Foundation, are inviting teams of 33 high school students to design, build and race a single-seat, student-driven electric car on the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the 2017 race festivities. This exciting event will take place during the traditional “Community Day" before the Indy 500.

The high school teams, selected from participating programs across the United States, will be paired with Verizon IndyCar Series drivers for the famed 500 Mile Race in a competition that challenges young minds. The project requires teams of students to design and build a single-seat electric car and then compete in head-to-head races.

The Greenpower Electric Car Challenge is a project-based science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning initiative for broad levels of education. The Greenpower Challenge, which has been running in the United Kingdom since 1999 and is currently offered in over 600 schools throughout the United Kingdom (affecting over 10,000 students), emerged in the United States in 2014 and has expanded most recently to China. This Program leverages the excitement of motorsport to enhance teaching and learning of STEM-based subject matter and learning objectives. As well, the Challenge inspires passion and innovation in students from primary (elementary) through post-secondary education levels, and prompts a certain intrigue in STEM-based career pathways … a definite need throughout the United States and the world.

“We’re delighted anytime we can engage young people here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and this opportunity to build a car alongside a driver is an especially wonderful opportunity," Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said. “We value Greenpower’s goal of linking education, industry and community through inspirational engineering projects."

Greenpower provides value to educators through project-based application of otherwise complex STEM- based content. The project emphasizes applied learning, sustainability and technological literacy. The Greenpower Challenge provides students the opportunity to gain knowledge through hands-on application in mechanical design, electrical systems, aerodynamics and materials. In addition, the Challenge requires soft skills deployment such as team building, problem solving, project management, strategic planning, and public speaking and presentation.

As Jason Taylor, President of the GreenpowerUSA Foundation explains, “by integrating a project-based learning platform with the obvious excitement driven by motorsport, the Greenpower Challenge provides an innovative scenario for both instructors and students. In addition to gaining exposure to a broad range of STEM-based subject matter, participants will learn to appreciate teamwork, collaboration, specialization, and communication…each of these skills being integral attributes of tomorrow’s workforce. Thanks to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and INDYCAR, the Greenpower Challenge will realize an increased excitement by pairing of INDYCAR drivers with student Greenpower teams. The Foundation (as well as the students, teachers, and employers it is missioned to serve), will benefit greatly from the opportunity and increased exposure afforded by the generosity of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and INDYCAR."

With a shared vision for the future of youth STEM education through motorsport, GreenpowerUSA Foundation’s partner, the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) will handle race management at the event. This race is one of several “GreenpowerUSA driven by SCCA" events scheduled for 2017.

“Racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a dream come true – and now, it’s a reachable goal for a special group of high school students and STEM educators," said Lisa Noble, Sports Car Club of America President & CEO. “STEM curriculum really is the science of motorsport, and the SCCA is proud of our association with Greenpower as the program grows in the United States. We’re excited to do everything we can to make this a special event for these bright, young minds. Along with INDYCAR, IUPUI and Greenpower, we want to help put on a fun and safe event that they’ll never forget.“

GreenpowerUSA, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and INDYCAR challenge high schools teams across the country to apply for a position to compete on the world's most famous motorsport stage in May 2017. Details on participation requirements and applications will be posted on the GreenpowerUSA website in the coming weeks. Plans are to have all teams selected by Sept. 30.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is an official event sponsor and, in addition to providing faculty support other benefits, it has offered to help offset costs to the participating schools and associate attendees through discounted housing during the event (utilizing IUPUI residence halls).

“Given that the School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI offers the only B.S. degree in motorsports engineering in the entire USA, and we are one of a few schools in the USA to offer a B.S. degree in energy engineering, we are delighted to support GreenpowerUSA’s commitment to building the STEM pipeline through the excitement of motorsports and alternative energy," said David J. Russomanno, dean of the School.

About GreenpowerUSA: The GreenpowerUSA Foundation was established in May 2014 in order to promote the teaching and learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-based curriculum through a design, build, race competition of student-driven electric cars. The Foundation is a registered non-profit organization based in Huntsville, Alabama. For more information visit www.greenpowerusa.net.

About the SCCA: The Sports Car Club of America, Inc., founded in 1944, is a 68,000-member motorsport organization that incorporates all facets of auto ross, rally and road racing at both club and professional levels. With headquarters in Topeka, Kansas, the SCCA annually sanctions over 2,000 events through its 116 Regions and professional subsidiary. To learn more, please visit www.scca.com

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