Since Indianapolis is the racing capital of the world, it makes sense to have a small piece of that racing spirit at the University of Indianapolis. Because of this, junior mechanical engineering student and UIndy Racing Registered Student Organization president Issac Johnson decided to bring that spirit to UIndy with a new RSO titled UIndy Racing.
According to Johnson, other schools in the area, such as Purdue University and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, have events involved with racing. He said he started this RSO to bring motorsports to UIndy.
“I’ve been racing myself for the past eight years,” Johnson said. “I’ve been doing it ever since I was a little kid and then I’ve really gotten into it in the past … this’ll be my fourth year I’ll be running a full season. I’ve always thought of what it could be like to have something racing-integrated into my school.”
According to Johnson, the RSO will first be building and modeling a car called an Unlimited All-Stars Open go-kart. These cars, according to Johnson, are raced on dirt oval paths.
“Then you have the UAS open classes, which are very limited on the rules. You can get more imaginative with that,” Johnson said. “That’s why I wanted to go that route more so than a stock class because I wanted to provide an opportunity for students to be able to come in and then they’re going to build their knowledge on different things, like the business aspect of motorsports, how the engine works and how the aerodynamics works and things like that. We’re going to be able to think more through what the different pieces do and be able to integrate things that some other people might not have thought of before.”
Johnson said that he is planning on attending races at different local tracks in Indiana. If the RSO gains enough funding and more members, he said he would also like to attend a few national races in other states, such as Kentucky and Georgia.
Johnson said he spoke with Associate Dean and Director of Engineering Ken Reid and Associate Professor of Engineering Paul Talaga about starting the RSO. Sophomore mechanical engineering student and UIndy Racing RSO treasurer and secretary Megan Marshall said that she posted about the RSO on the UIndy App to see if people were interested.
According to Marshall, their faculty sponsor is Talaga, but they are also contacting other members of the engineering department about the RSO. The RSO was certified by contacting Assistant Director of Student Activities Bridget Webster, Marshall said.
The RSO also held three information meetings, Marshall said. These meetings discussed what the goals of the RSO are, what they would be building and what meetings would look like, according to Marshall.
The club currently meets on Zoom, but Marshall said she is looking to possibly meet in-person in the R.B. Annis School of Engineering or Schwitzer Student Center. Currently, the RSO is putting a budget together, Johnson said, and then he hopes to start building the car. According to Johnson, the RSO is split into different teams that each handle a certain aspect of the car.
“I wanted to break it off into different teams and like more of what people would be interested in. So like [a] body team, tire team, chassis team and then a business team,” Johnson said. “So then not only are engineering students …getting involved in what they have [the] most interest in, but I can get other students who may not understand engineering or even like engineering involved into something that they would want to do.”
Johnson said that while the RSO has engineering aspects, it is not just for engineering students. All students, regardless of major, are welcome to join the club, he said.
Students can join the RSO by sending Johnson an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meetings are currently held on Mondays at 5:30 p.m., however, Johnson said he plans on moving this back an hour to 6:30 p.m.