Mike Lewis, Don Schumacher Racing senior vice president, and Pete Hylton, director of motorsports for the Motorsports Engineering program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, have announced plans for an expanded partnership.
IUPUI, in downtown Indianapolis, and Don Schumacher Racing, 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 at full speed this fall and plans to expand in 2013.
In addition to offering the country’s only four-year motorsports engineering bachelor’s degree, IUPUI will introduce a master’s degree program with a motorsports concentration.
A few months ago, Hylton met with Lewis and Mike Green, crew chief for Don Schumacher Racing’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.
“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.
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.”
IUPUI students’ involvement with the racing team has expanded to other projects, including the study of Funny Car chassis dynamics and failure analysis of engine components.