Grand Prix Facts

Grand Prix is here.


I thought I would never say it, but it’s true. Grand Prix is finally here and we are all sober enough (or drunk enough) to appreciate it. Grand Prix is a fine tradition of besting an opponent, whether that be in beer pong or in the race itself. 33 teams compete for the illustrious title each year racing a kart built from the ingenuity of the teams themselves.


In light of such a historic and famous event, I’ve concocted a bit of Grand Prix fun facts. How well do YOU know one of Purdue’s greatest traditions?

  • Ian Smith is the only driver to win the Grand Prix in 3 consecutive years. He and Timothy O’Brien are the only drivers to win the race 3 times.
  • Five members of the Smith family have combined to win 8 Grand Prix races.
  • Liz Lehmann is the first female driver to ever win the Grand Prix. The 2007 race, held on April 21, was her third try. She finished 4th in 2006; in 2007 she was in the top 5 the entire race. She went on to finish 3rd in 2008.
  • Several IUPUI students have participated in the Purdue Grand Prix. Their first entrant was John Steger in 1976.
  • Phi Sigma Rho is the first sorority to participate in the Purdue Grand Prix, starting in the 1990s. Multiple Phi Rho drivers have qualified for the race.
  • The original track was modeled after the World Grand Prix track in Japan.
  • The new track was built in 2008 after the expansion of the Co-Rec and is now located near the Northwest Sports Complex. It cost over $1 million to build.
  • Jimmy Simpson, last year’s winner, put $15,000 into the construction of his new kart.

The 57th annual Purdue Grand Prix takes place at 8:30 a.m. on April 26 with the main event beginning at 2:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale April 21-25 for $7, or are available for $10 at the gate.

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