UVU Endurance Race Team Pulls Off Shocking Win

Utah Valley University’s Endurance Race Team picked up a stunning upset victory in the ChampCar Endurance series race held Sunday July 28 at the Utah Motorsports track in Tooele, Utah. The win is not only the first for the UVU team, it’s the first time in the 10-year ChampCar Series history that an entry from any college won an endurance race.

“This is unbelievable!”, exclaimed Matt Hasara, driver and assistant professor in UVU’s automotive technology program. “This has never been done before. We just shocked everybody! I’m so happy for these students after all the hard work and dedication it took to pull off this upset.”

The eight-straight hour endurance race featured 233 laps of racing, beginning at 8am and it wasn’t until the last lap at 4pm when the green UVU Miata passed the front car to come across the finish line in first place. Many of the other entrants travel with the nationwide circuit, racing in all 28 events around the country. It is extremely rare for any single-race team to even finish the grueling race, much less win.

“We just went nuts,” said UVU student Lucas Smith. “We were happy to just still be running after eight hours and being in second place, but when we saw our car come off the final turn in front of all the other cars, we were freaking out!”

The Miata was made race-ready by twelve UVU students who spent hundreds of hours to get the car prepared for the long race in 90 degree temperatures. The students worked non-stop prepping the car and working the pit and doing tire and brake research all at the same time as the Miata fed live on-track performance data wirelessly to the student’s computers. To prove just how well the student team performed, the car got stronger as the race went on, making it’s best lap time on lap #203. Meanwhile, more than half the competitors had their best lap time in the first 80 laps.

“Talk about engaged learning, it doesn’t get any better than that,” said Don Wilson, UVU department chair. “This is something these students will remember the rest of their lives, and it’s going to look pretty good on a resume when they approach employers, too.”

Team members included: Kaija Kalm, Neal Hansen, Zander Muniz, Henrique Roberio, Omar Ortiz, Cesar Betancourt, Lucas Smith, Isaac Hopkins, Jared Graham, Matt Hasara and Andy Moench.

The automotive technology program is just one of several engaged learning programs housed in the UVU Department of Transportation Technologies.

To see post-race interviews: