Welcome to the Motorsports Program
The Motorsports program aims at satisfying the educational aspirations of many students, professionals, and companies involved in the motorsports industry. Its areas of study meet specific goals and career objectives of students interested in high performance vehicles, and graduates from this program are employed by the automotive and motorsports industries in a wide range of career positions ranging from race-vehicle and engine design and manufacturing, vehicle and engine testing, race car design, motorsports race event management, raceway facilities administration, and race crew management. Students also receive a broad-based engineering education allowing placement in traditional engineering positions.
Old Dominion University (ODU) and Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) have partnered to offer motorsports program to students who have passion for this highly exciting and rewarding technical profession. The program is designed as a 2+1+2 year AAS to BS program, where students receive AAS motorsports degree from Patrick Henry Community College, followed by one year of leveling courses at either PHCC, another community college or at ODU, and then complete their BS degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology at Old Dominion University with minor in Motorsports. As a result students will gain in-depth practical knowledge and understanding of engineering principles required to optimize race vehicle performance.
The motorsports program builds on strengths of partnering institutions. Patrick Henry Community College has developed an intensive two year program focused on motorsports with 15 technical courses specializing in motorsports. All courses have small student to faculty ratio with integrated hands-on laboratory component taught by prominent professionals in the field. The program is one of the leading two year motorsports programs in the nation and is delivered by faculty with several years of experience in the field of motorsports. It is located in the heart of Virginia - Martinsville and Danville, motorsports alley and home to NASCAR racetracks. The Old Dominion University Mechanical Engineering Technology program is nationally recognized ETAC ABET http://www.abet.org/home/accredited program. ODU ET department has been consistently ranked in the top ten engineering technology programs nationally.
The motorsports program is very selective which allows low student to faculty ratio aimed at personalized attention to each student. The instruction is conducted in real-world laboratory settings where students can work beyond scheduled laboratory time while still having professional assistance and full access to state of the art motorsports equipment and facilities.
Once students receive their AAS degree in motorsports from PHCC it is expected that many of them will pursue BS in mechanical engineering technology at ODU. Engineering knowledge and skills will allow them to further improve their knowledge of race cars through application of basic engineering principles and modern modeling and simulation tools. In order to bridge AAS to BS programs, students are required to take leveling courses including general education, and math and science. The list of courses for both programs along with leveling courses can be found on:orgs.odu.edu/sae/. The BS level motorsports program has been structured to provide a flexible technical education involving an interdisciplinary mixture of courses such as, Ground Vehicle Aerodynamics, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Race Car Performance, Vehicle Dynamics and High Performance Piston Engines.
Motorsports, a growing and green industry
Motorsports is a rapidly growing industry in the US and worldwide. Motorsports is at the vanguard of vehicle design, manufacturing and testing. Auto racing is not only an entertainment and marketing event, but also a real world test bed for manufacturers to subject engines, body and structure of race vehicles to extreme conditions that test and verify their durability, power, safety and aerodynamics. Motorsports also carries the prestige of national and international makes, models and vehicle manufacturer involvement. Motorsports involves and attracts businesses, sponsors and investors while providing countless technical opportunities for engineers and technologists to be at the leading edge of vehicle development.
Many experts involved in Motorsports agree that the golden age of national and international auto racing is right now. In fact, the Motorsports industry has reached an unprecedented level of technical sophistication that brings well remunerated jobs to professionals with knowledge and skill in the field.
Motorsports, in whatever form it may take is fundamentally based on efficiency- be it getting the most power from an engine, the least drag from a car or going further on a gallon of fuel. Increasingly Motorsports has a 'green' aspect as manufacturers translate the efficiencies optimized by racing programs into passenger vehicles. Rules changes, current and future, dictate smaller packaging, engines and increasingly utilize technologies such as kinetic energy regeneration systems (hybrid power) and alternative energy sources. Today race cars run on ethanol, diesel, hybrid drive and electricity. Future race cars will test the limits with technologies such as fuel cells- and the industry needs engineers ready for tomorrow's technologies.