Affiliation Provides Unique
MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology today announced a powerful and unique affiliation with Larsen Motorsports that will bring the science and engineering of high-tech jet dragsters to the university’s students and highlight Florida Tech’s innovative commitment to STEM education in races across the country.
The 5,500-horse power Florida Tech-branded jet dragster, capable of achieving speeds of nearly 300 mph in a quarter-mile race, was unveiled in a ceremony on campus that drew faculty, staff and students and members of the general public.
“We have had our eye on Florida Tech for some time now,” said Elaine Larsen, who co-founded Larsen Motorsports (LMS) with her husband Chris and is one of its leading drivers, winning the International Hot Rod Association’s 2014 Nitro Jam Jet Dragster championship. “The university is a first-tier, private research institution that is experiencing rapid growth in a number of areas of LMS interest, and our partnership will allow us both to collaborate in areas of research and education in ways unique to education and the motorsports industry.”
LMS will relocate its operations from Daytona Beach, Fla., to the Florida Tech Research and Development Center in Palm Bay, Fla., not far from the university’s main campus in Melbourne. The new, nearly 30,000-square-foot space will contain full design, engineering, training, fabrication and day-to-day operations capabilities implemented specifically for Larsen Motorsports, as well as $8 million in equipment LMS is supplying.
Work is underway on the facility, which is part of the former Intersil building the company donated to Florida Tech in 2013. In addition to housing the Larsen Motorsports workshop and design center, as well as the team’s vehicles, beginning this fall the space will be where Florida Tech students experience truly unique hands-on research and internship opportunities.
“We believe the addition of the Larsen Motorsports jet dragster to Florida Tech will pay educational rewards to our students for years to come,” said Anthony J. Catanese, Florid Tech’s president and CEO.
LMS and the Florida Tech Jet Dragster Racing Team will travel the country, delighting audiences from Palm Beach, Fla. to Tucson, Ariz., in the IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series. This allows LMS to continue its decade-long history of engaging college students.
“One of the reasons we approached Florida Tech is its commitment to hands-on, high-tech, real-world education, and that’s what we hope to help provide,” said Larsen Motorsports CEO Chris Larsen. “If anything, our affiliation is giving us the opportunity to involve more students, representing more majors, in more aspects of the company, than ever before.”
Catanese added, “LMS is a minority-owned, family-run motorsports business, an innovator in jet dragster racing as well as a leader in fan engagement, particularly for college-bound students. They exemplify Florida Tech’s ‘High Tech with a Human Touch’ promise.”
Follow the Florida Tech Jet Dragster Racing Team at http://jetdragster.fit.edu.