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Purdue Grand Prix


Historical Information

The first Grand Prix took place on May 17, 1958. The Purdue Grand Prix created by students who wished to exercise their engineering knowledge. Over the years the Grand Prix has raised funds to provide scholarships to students. The Foundation centers on its motto of "students helping students."

The first race 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 m.p.h. After 144 laps or 60 miles and an average speed of 22.6 m.p.h., James Moneyhun of Gable Courts, later known as Terry Courts, became the first winner of the Purdue Grand Prix. All karts race with a Yamaha KT-100 engine.

The Purdue Auto Club was the original sponsor and governing body of the Purdue Grand Prix. However, upon the disbandment of the Purdue Auto Club, students formed a new organization to manage the race. The final draft of the Grand Prix Foundation's constitution was approved on November 9, 1965 and the Grand Prix Foundation has been the sanctioning body of the race since.

The "old" track, located on the northeast comer of campus near Ross-Ade Stadium, was built in 1968 and was completed in time for the 11th running of the Purdue Grand Prix in 1969. Known as "The Greatest Spectacle in College Racing," the Grand Prix race consists of 33 drivers and teams that participate in the 160-lap or 50 mile race each spring at the conclusion of what was known as "Gala Week." In 1995, Ian Smith set a record as being the first student to win the race three times in a row.

In 2009 a new track opened near the corner of U.S. 231/52 and Cherry Lane. The track is similar in design to the old track with increased width for safety. The new facility cost over $1,000,000 and is one of the premier karting facilities in the country. The track was completed in time for the 52nd annual race and opened on April 25, 2009.


Purdue Grand Prix Foundation. Accessed March 18, 2020.


Lehmann victorious at 50th Grand Prix; first female to win race. Purdue University News Service. Accessed November 11, 2011.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Gary Kline papers

 Unprocessed — Box: 1
Identifier: 20201008

Purdue Grand Prix Foundation records

 Unprocessed — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2022-083