The Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC) announced that it will be investing $1.15 million into the motorsports engineering program at the Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI) Purdue School of Engineering and Technology.
The investment is supposed to be used by IUPUI for a partnership with Dallara, ostensibly to advance motorsports engineering technologies and economic development in Indiana related to motorsports.
For its part, IUPUI is chipping in with $200,000 for the project.
Specifically, the two-year grant offers funding to help complete and operate the most advanced vehicle simulator in the world being built at the Dallara IndyCar Factory.
The factory is located in Speedway, just a mile from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500. Dallara Automobili, which is an Italian company, already has this simulator in Italy and it has been tested by well-known racecar drivers in Italian competitions.
Ed Carpenter, the 2013 Indy 500 pole winner who is team owner and driver of the No. 20 Fuzzys Vodka Chevrolet, said that he was thrilled the Dallara Simulator was coming to Indiana. He said he had used it a couple of times in Italy, and added that it would be a great tool for teams in the Izod IndyCar Series.
The investment is being made with the hope that the simulator will lead to more partnerships between Indiana’s academic institutions, the motorsports industry and racing teams. It will also further the state’s reputation as a center for motorsports, and attract more teams and their support staff of engineers and mechanics.
Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith said that by linking advanced innovations in the motorsports industry to higher education, the state will continue to be a pioneer in motorsports R&D and generate new investments and jobs.
Andrea Pontremoli, general manager and CEO of Dallara, said that the simulator will not only raise racing technology levels in Indiana, but also impact other industries outside of motorsports that will be able to use the technologies.
David Russomanno, dean of the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, explained that the simulator enables rapid prototyping of innovative vehicle designs. This technology can therefore be used not just in motorsports, but also by the automobile industry.
A recent Perdue study showed that the motorsports industry in Indiana is worth more than $3 billion, directly employs more than 23,000 workers with average annual wages of almost $63,000, and is credited for another 421,000 indirect jobs.