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Grant fuels racing simulator, accelerating motorsports economic development initiatives


INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has announced plans to invest $1.15 million in the motorsports engineering program at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to develop a partnership with Dallara to conduct basic and applied research involving dynamic vehicle simulation. The project will advance motorsports engineering techniques and motorsports-related economic development opportunities for the state of Indiana.

“When you combine Indiana’s heritage of racing excellence with a commitment to providing the resources needed for industry growth, the Hoosier state has a formula for success,” said Victor Smith, Indiana secretary of commerce. “By linking higher education to the industry’s most advanced innovations, our state will continue to be a pioneer in the research and development of motorsports, win new career and investment opportunities for Hoosiers and make history on and off the track.”

The two-year grant includes funding, via an IUPUI subcontract to Dallara, to support the completion and operation of the world’s most advanced vehicle dynamic simulator at Dallara’s IndyCar facility in Speedway, Ind. As part of the project, IUPUI will also contribute approximately $200,000 in cost sharing.

“This grant elevates our productive partnership with Dallara to a new level,” said David Russomanno, dean of the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. “Through advanced modeling techniques made possible by access to this simulator, we will dramatically reduce the time it takes for our faculty and students’ research accomplishments to be translated to practice. The simulator will enable the rapid prototyping of innovative design concepts, which will impact not just motorsports but the entire automotive industry.”

Home to the nation’s only motorsports engineering Bachelor of Science degree program, IUPUI’s basic and applied research efforts, using the advanced simulator at Dallara’s facility, will enhance partnerships among race teams, the Indianapolis-based motorsports industry and Indiana’s academic community. Locating this simulator in Central Indiana will also further enhance the state’s reputation as the worldwide center of motorsports and draw race teams from all over the world, including their support teams of mechanics and engineers.

“This simulator will not only raise the level of racing technology available for the entire state of Indiana but will reach beyond the motorsports industry to advance the use of technologies by stakeholders in many high-tech industries,” said Andrea Pontremoli, CEO and general manager of Dallara. “We are excited to have a cutting-edge tool right here in the motorsports capital of the world that has previously been tested by several renowned drivers in Italian tournaments. Dallara looks forward to collaborating with Hoosier universities to realize the full potential of this tool. We are thankful for the state of Indiana’s support that will complement and complete our investment in the IndyCar Factory.”

The grant is part of the state’s economic development fund. The program, operated by the Indiana Economic Development Corp., provides grants to communities or nonprofits undertaking various economic development initiatives, including public works projects, technical assistance and studies, economic adjustment assistance and other economic development activities.

“I am thrilled that the Dallara simulator is coming to the factory in Indiana,” said Ed Carpenter, team owner and driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet and 2013 Indy 500 pole winner. “I have driven the simulator a couple times in Italy and it is great tool for the Izod IndyCar Series teams. I really look forward to using the simulator at the Dallara plant in Speedway soon.”

Racing, starting with the Indianapolis 500, is not only a tradition, but an industry and culture that continues to bolster economic growth in Indiana. With more than 50 race tracks in the Hoosier state, the motorsports industry pumps more than $3 billion through the state annually. It employs more than 23,000 Hoosiers, paying an average annual wage of nearly $63,000, according to a recent Purdue University-led study titled “Race to the Future: The Statewide Impact of Motorsports in Indiana.” The industry is indirectly responsible for 421,000 Hoosier jobs.

About Dallara

The Dallara driving simulator is a platform for the development of motor vehicles and associated components with real-time driver-in-the-loop control. Integrating the driver into the design process at the earliest stages of development allows a realistic car handling and drivability assessment that can reduce the time and cost of evaluating design options in the prototype stage. The simulator is based on a hexapod layout with 60 inches of actuator stroke. Its design and manufacture are patented.