Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Don Schumacher Racing renews partnership with IUPUI

April 25, 2013

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The most successful team in professional drag racing and the most innovative university involved in motorsports engineering announced an expanded partnership Thursday.

Mike Lewis, Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) senior vice president, and Pete Hylton, director of motorsports for the Motorsports Engineering program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), detailed plans of the partnership at a 2:30 p.m. (EST) press conference during the fourth annual International Motorsports Industry Show being held at the Indiana Convention Center December 6-8.

IUPUI, located in downtown Indianapolis, and DSR, which is based in nearby Brownsburg, began collaborating four years ago. Major strides were made after one year in the development of a new Top Fuel Dragster chassis that debuted in 2010 with what at the time was the fastest run ever.

For various personnel reasons, the program was on hiatus last season, but it resumed running at full speed this fall and plans to expand in 2013.

In addition to offering the country’s only four-year Bachelor of Science in Motorsports Engineering degree, IUPUI in January will introduce a Master of Science degree program with a motorsports concentration.

A few months ago, Hylton met with Lewis and Mike Green, crew chief for DSR’s U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster driven by seven-time NHRA world champion Tony Schumacher, to reenergize the internship program.

“There is such a great synergy between our program and DSR that it was only a matter of time before we would reactivate it,” Hylton said, "and we see several areas where we can achieve mutual benefit for the team, the university, the students and the sport."

Schumacher, who will be inducted next year into the prestigious International Motorsports Hall of Fame, has been an innovator in drag racing since he was a pioneer Funny Car driver and owner in the mid-1960s. His emphasis always has been on safety as well as performance.

“The future of our great sport of NHRA drag racing is not just in finding talented drivers but in cultivating mechanics, crew chiefs, machinists and engineers,” he said.

“Our wonderful relationship with IUPUI and its dedicated and intelligent faculty and students contributed to our DSR teams winning two NHRA world championships this season. And with the reciprocal relationship between IUPUI and DSR, we hope to win more while keeping our drivers safe.”

Lewis added, “DSR’s relationship with IUPUI partners our engineers and crew chiefs with IUPUI instructors and students on specific research projects related to the safety and performance of our Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars. Students learn from their real world experience in the DSR race shop, and we’ve enjoyed tangible benefits from this joint effort.”

Green said, IUPUI students’ involvement with DSR has expanded to other projects including the study of Funny Car chassis dynamics and failure analysis of engine components.

“Working with IUPUI has been a valuable education process for myself and DSR’s other crew chiefs and fabricators,” Green said. “Through the university, we experience the latest state-of-the-art technology as far as software and computer simulations.

“This relationship really is a win-win for both of us; it’s the best of both worlds. We benefit by receiving input from very intelligent engineers who work with students to do the design work or analyze our ideas, and they get hands-on work with real results.”