As the “Greatest Spectacle in College Racing” cruises toward race day next Saturday, the PSWE Grand Prix crew screws on its last bolt, ending the modification stage of the sport. Major changes to the vehicle, commonly known as either the “kart” or the “SWEet Machine,” were necessary for a victory run, according to Marissa Zon, Grand Prix Chair. These changes consisted of replacing the back axle, rewiring the kart, and most importantly, replacing the exhaust.
“Last year, we had a disappointing run,” Zon said. “We did not get to finish the race due to our exhaust attachment breaking, and we did not have a replacement for it.”
However, with the new exhaust, the SWEet Machine is ready to take on the Kings of the Racetrack (IUPUI) and hopefully, be inducted as the Queen of the court.
A SWEet History
In 1974, Purdue SWE was the first organization to enter a cart into the Purdue Grand Prix race with an all female crew and driver. Margo Hammel, SWE president was quoted in the student newspaper as saying, “We were talking about entering a queen candidate for the Grand Prix to prove we are not all toads.” Since its first cart, SWE has received sponsorship from Corning Inc. for the race. Originally named the “Corning Streaker”, the cart in recent years has become the “SWEet Machine.” In 1985, SWE driver Andrea Harrison won the pole position and finished 5th at the end of the race. Marisa Nakajima, current SWE driver, repeated this accomplishment in 2011. This was and has been the best finish.
Strategy is Key
The major goal for the team is to finish the race “without an exhaust problem,” according to Zon. The key is to have a flawless run since fewer mistakes guarantees victory. Another goal is to not compete in the sprint race on race day since this might wear down the kart before the “race of judgment.”
“The strategy we are planning to use on race day is to drive fast but also to be cautious,” Zon explained. “It’s the beginning of the race that the most accidents happen. Also, the crew wants to give our driver, Marisa Nakajima, the best kart possible to compete in since its her last year as our Grand Prix driver.”
Therefore, the victory recipe calls for no sprint race and a cautious, flawless run on race day. This should be easy for the SWEeties.
Continuing the Legacy
Still the only all-female competing team, it’s about time that the SWEeties become the Queen of the racetrack. However, in order for PSWE to accomplish this, we need your support!
Please come to the Grand Prix track (near McCormick Road and Cherry Lane) on April 20th to support the SWEet Machine!!
Useful Grand Prix Information (so you know how to support us :))
What you want to know
The main race is Saturday, April 20th (next Saturday). It is located on the Grand Prix track near McCormick Road and Cherry Lane. If you don’t have a car, there are free shuttle services from 8 AM-6 PM with pick-up locations at Ross-Ade Stadium, Steward Center, and Wiley Dining Court.
Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the gate. They will be on sale April 13-14 during Purdue’s Spring Fest at the Grand Prix tent on Memorial Mall. Ticket sales continue April 16 until race day in the Steward Center lobby, outside CL50, in the Engineeing Mall, and PMU basement. You can also purchase them online by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grand Prix Timeline
- April 13: Qualifications (only the top 27 karts will be in the main race)
- April 20: Main Race Day!! (& Main Support Day)
- This 160-lap feature starts at 2:30 PM on the Grand Prix track
- Pits are open to public from 8-9:45 AM
- Track seating open to public at 8:45 AM
- Practice Runs start at 9:55-10:50 AM
- Heat Races start at 11:30 AM
Hope to see you all there!!