The Purdue Grand Prix is an annual go-kart race that has been held at Purdue since 1958. The 50-mile, 160-lap race occurs in April and is billed as "The Greatest Spectacle in College Racing."
In the racing tradition, qualifying events and festivities begin the week before the race, resulting in a week of parties and other activities, both sanctioned and unsanctioned. Grand Prix also is a favorite event for alumni who often return to campus for the weekend.
The Grand Prix teams are from student clubs, residence halls, Greek organizations, and from other Purdue campuses. The karts are based on a two-stroke engine, as specified by the American Kart Racing Association.
Philanthropy. A primary function of the event is to raise money for scholarships for Purdue students under the aegis of the Purdue Grand Prix Foundation, whose motto is "Students Helping Students." These scholarships are the only scholarships at Purdue University that are chosen by students. Each year the foundation awards over $10,000 to deserving students.
History. The first race was held on May 17, 1958, and was run on North Intramural Field and an adjacent parking lot. Each kart was built from scratch, had a lawnmower engine and could barely exceed 30 mph. In 2009, the current Purdue Grand Prix Track was opened at the corner of McCormick Road and Cherry Lane.
Did you know? Each year, the Grand Prix draws more than 50 team entries and more than 350 participants. The event draws more than 5,000 spectators.
Did you know? Today's karts cost around $5,000 each, and they are able to reach top speeds close to 50 miles per hour.