In the November Issue | Racing 101, College Students Tackle ChampCar

Photograph Courtesy UGA Motorsports

Deep within the Driftmier School of Engineering at the University of Georgia, past the classrooms and offices, beyond the student study rooms, and behind the metalworking, woodworking and machine shops sits a garage with two cars and a whole lot of stuff. 

This is home to the University of Georgia’s ChampCar team. In collaboration with the UGA Formula SAE team, they make up UGA Motorsports.

And this club is pretty new on campus. 

UGA Motorsports started in 2014 as a group of automotive enthusiasts who wanted to make it official. Student Sam Hepburn reached out to a professor, and several other students came forward with interest. 

Dr. John Mativo, associate professor in workforce education, stepped in as their faculty sponsor, and they officially formed the Society of Automotive Engineers at UGA.

Then, club member Ahnna-Leisha Stover donated her old 1999 Ford Mustang. Suddenly the group had direction as it began to work on the donated car. Shop nights were hosted to teach other students about
automotive engineering.

Another Mustang was donated to the club by one of its faculty advisors, Dr. Mark Trudgen, and the momentum continued. Members collected tools and equipment as they focused mainly on small jobs and hosting shop nights, funded in part by the engineering college and private donors. The students even hosted “Mario Kart” tournaments to raise money for their projects. 

Over the next few years, UGA Motorsports grew into a successful club that offers a practical way for students to apply their classroom skills.


Subscribe now to read more about UGA Motorsports, what they've done, and where the program is headed next in the November issue of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine.


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View comments on the GRM forums
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/25/20 9:27 p.m.

I just barely got my October issue!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/25/20 9:33 p.m.

In reply to vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) :

No rest for the weary!

Also, I went to UGA. Back then, we didn't have an engineering school. Or a race team. And we walked to class. Uphill. Both ways. 

Seriously, this one came together during my "pro in residence" visit in the fall. Thank you, Mark, for introducing me to the team as well as the j-school student who wrote the piece. 


Bill Strong
Bill Strong New Reader
8/26/20 4:24 p.m.

Utah was the first college team to finish first overall in a ChampCar race. Those guys pulled off a miracle.


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