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High school students to take part in evGrand Prix at IMS

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) - IndyCar practice is taking place on at Indianapolis Motor Speedway but in the infield you'll see much younger racers going head to head.

The evGrand Prix 2018 will get underway Tuesday. High school teams from around Indiana will race their electric vehicle's against one another. Nineteen high school teams are in this one of a kind stem competition.

The team from Heritage Christian School’s goal is to win but in the process of building their electric go kart they've learned a lot about the engineering.

The evGrand prix was started in 2009 at Purdue University. Professor James Caruthers in chemical engineering was awarded a $6 million grant from the Department of Energy to expand electric vehicle education through a competitive racing event. In 2015, Purdue decided to expand into the high school classroom to focus on stem education and to keep kids engaged in engineering.

So, the crew at Heritage Christian School, made up of junior and seniors this year,  had some special help from a former student, Connor Daly.  He stopped by their classroom to answer questions before the race. The faculty advisor, Lisa Foster, says he really made a difference for her students. 

“After, even just these two years. I've seen kids go into motorsports engineering and mechanical engineering,” said Foster. “Kids that weren't sure what they were going to do, kids that didn't really like school but once they got into doing the go kart they realized it was pretty fun.”

Cole Trent the crew chief for the team says they’ve put nearly 300 hours into the car.

“Taking the theoretical and putting in the physical world, you can do all the math you want but then you actually have to take it to the pavement and see it how it interacts with real life.” 

Conor Daly says there is a future for these kids right here in Indiana.

“In Indiana, there are a lot of jobs you can get in this whole motor racing industry. So, it's really cool to think about the future.”

This year is the event's ninth year of electric go-kart racing.  Next year expect the evGrand Prix to expand into the realm of autonomous racing. That means driver-less go karts. The practice for the go karts gets underway at 9 a.m. at IMS. Practice for IndyCar will be going on during the competition.  So, if you would like to come as a spectator you have to buy a $15 ticket to get into the infield. 

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