New high-tech racing simulator will help students, local economy

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SPEEDWAY – It’s high tech, high-speed, and extremely realistic.

Dallara’s new D3 driving simulator was unveiled at the company’s Speedway factory, with Gov. Mike Pence and racing legends like A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti on hand for Thursday’s ribbon cutting.

“The beauty of this is you can test in all different type of (conditions),” said CEO Andrea Pontremoli.

It cost the company some $12 million to build, but it’s not only going to help the drivers. Local officials say it’s also helping to put our state’s economy on the right track.

“What it means in Indiana is innovation, opportunity, and jobs and growth,” said Gov. Pence.

“This is a really big deal,” said Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles. “This technology has huge implications for racing.”

“It’s very important for us to have this kind of tool here,” said Pontremoli. “I am sure this is only one in the U.S. at this level.”

“Racing is also big business in Indiana,” said Pence. “We are home to so many racing teams and having this kind of technology here is just going to invite more of the kind of investment in research development in racing that’s going to support Hoosier jobs and Hoosier innovation for years to come.”

It’s also helping local students. Last year, the state kicked in to provide a grant of up to $1.15 million for IUPUI’s new motorsports engineering program at the School of Engineering and Technology. And now, the school is partnering with Dallara to let students train on the new simulator.

“Our program has already established a remarkable legacy in its very short existence,” said Dr. David Russomanno. “The location of IUPUI within minutes of Dallara’s facilties will ensure our faculty and students will have the opportunity to turn research into practice.”

The company has another simulator like this in Italy, but they say this new simulator is the first of its kind here in the United States.