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Engineer Goes from Race Track to Classroom

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IUPUI faculty member Andrew Borme

Andrew Borme worked 20 years in the motorsports industry before joining the IUPUI faculty, including stints as chief engineer for three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves.

Credit: IUPUI

Moving from the inner circles of professional automotive racing to the halls of academia has given Andrew Borme the second life he's wanted.

For the motorsports engineering students whom Borme teaches at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Borme's move is helping put them laps ahead of the competition.

The Italian-born, Texas-raised Borme was the chief engineer running the cars driven by Helio Castroneves when the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner took the checkered flag in his 2001 and 2002 Indy 500 victories.

During a 20-year career in motorsports engineering, Borme most recently worked in Europe as an engineer with Toyota and BMW-Sauber Formula 0ne teams. He joined the IUPUI motorsports teaching team during the fall 2009 semester.

"This is something I have wanted to do for a long time as sort of a second life from motorsports," Borme says of teaching a new generation of motorsports engineers. "It's a pretty good second step from a career in motorsports engineering."

It was the uniqueness of the IUPUI motorsports engineering program, part of the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI, that helped convince Borme the time and place were right for him to make the move from the race track to the classroom.

"It is the only four-year motorsports engineering degree program in the country," Borme says of the IUPUI program.

"A lot of universities have classes. They have motorsports psychology, motorsports physics and motorsports training. But no one [else] has a full four-year degree in motorsports. These exist in the U.K. and other countries," says Borme.

Borme's expertise in aerodynamics, mechanical systems design, vehicle dynamics, race and test engineering, and data analysis "are valuable skills that we definitely need if we are to build a successful program to educate future motorsports engineers," says Pete Hylton, who as director of the IUPUI Motorsports program has been the architect of the program that is developing at racetrack speed.

"The important thing with Andy is that he has all these skills and also has a desire to share them with young people who want to make their future careers in the industry," Hylton says.

The new "professor," who holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in aerodynamics, knows the value of a motorsports engineering degree for his students as well as their future employers.

"When I went into motorsports industry when I was 24, there was no formal training for a career in motorsport engineering. I learned everything on the job . . . the hard way," Borme says.

Compared to an IUPUI motorsports graduate, a graduate of a more traditional engineering program will have a lot more to learn before he or she can become productive in the motorsports industry, Borme says.

"An IUPUI [motorsports engineering] graduate shortcuts that on-the-job training part," he says.


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