Italy Car  

Mechanical engineering students and faculty members accompanied President Matt Branam and Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Belskus, vice chair of Rose- Hulman's Board of Trustees, on a trip to Varano, Italy this fall to visit some of the best innovation in Italian industry.

The educational trip came at the invitation of Gian Paolo Dallara, founder of Dallara Automobili, who is known to all Italians and motorsports aficionados by his nickname, "The Engineer." Dallara Automobili is the most successful international motorsports vehicle design company. The company provided the six-day, all-expense-paid trip, and Gian Paolo Dallara shared his philosophy for innovation and success while accompanying the group during a tour of Dallara Automobili's facility.

Rose-Hulman leaders hope to establish an internship program for students to learn motorsports design at Dallara Automobili's production facilities in Italy and Indianapolis.

"We are very proud of our association with The Engineer (Gian Paolo Dallara) and the fine people of Dallara Automobili, and we have high expectations for increased collaboration with his company," says Branam. "The most important message that we have brought back is that we learn by doing, but with whom we do it may determine our success in the future."

The student members of Rose-Hulman's Grand Prix Engineering (RoseGPE) Formula SAE motorsports team also toured the state-of-the-art facilities of Barilla Pasta and Ferrari. The trip included motorsports team faculty advisers Zac Chambers, associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of the college's Advanced Transportation Systems program, and Patrick Cunningham, assistant professor of mechanical engineering.

The students also had the opportunity to meet with international counterparts at a Formula SAE competition in Varano. "Even though we're from all these different backgrounds, we have so much in common," team member Daniel Watson says of his interaction with students from Israel, India, Germany, and elsewhere.

Members of Rose-Hulman's student group were impressed by the cooperative spirit among the teams. Although they were competitors, the racers also reached out to one another to offer assistance, spare parts, or equipment that was needed.

     Italy Branam Quote

"Our delegation was thrilled to see the energy and enthusiasm of young people in Italy for the pursuit of the limits of today's technology," says Branam.

Dallara's pursuit of excellence, and their philosophy of learning from failures as a tool to generate greater success, creates an environment of innovation, team spirit, and employee pride in their work.

"Our students were inspired to see the mathematical modeling and simulation of vehicle dynamics at Dallara Automobili, and to meet the young people involved in this work every day," Branam says. "I know our students brought these inspirations back to their studies here." ■