Elaine Larsen to drive FIT Jet for Florida Institute of Technology
IHRA Jet dragster driver Elaine Larsen, who just completed a four-win 2015 season that earned her a second consecutive IHRA Jet Dragster world championship, announced today that she will step into the driving cockpit of the Florida Institute of Technology jet dragster for 2016.
“I am really excited to drive the Florida Tech jet dragster, not only because I expect to bring my championship abilities to this great team, but also because this will allow me the opportunity to showcase to the world all of the hard work and dedication of students and faculty at Florida Tech.”
Now entering the second year of partnership with Florida Tech, the team will formally open its Larsen Motorsports High Performance Vehicles Research & Development Center this February at the university’s Palm Bay research center, located near their main Melbourne campus. The 30,000-square-foot facility, featuring full-concept design, engineering and fabrication capabilities and room for up to nine race teams, will continue to enhance the unique and powerful educational impact of the Florida Tech-Larsen Motorsports relationship.
“I am excited to work at the shop and on the track with Florida Tech students,” Larsen said.
Larsen’s crew chief during her 2015 championship run, Paige Sanchez, returns track side and at the development center for the 2016 season. Sanchez is currently earning her master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Florida Tech in addition to her duties as crew chief for Elaine.
“Whether developing a computer model, fine-tuning our General Electric J-85 turbo jet engines or getting dirty with some routine maintenance, the hands-on experiences I get at Larsen touch on multiple STEM disciplines and really enhance my classroom education,” Sanchez said.
The R&D Center hosts upwards of 15 Florida Tech students on any given day, providing hands-on learning experiences in a variety of curriculum ranging from aerospace, mechanical and electrical engineering majors to those studying communications, marketing, and human factors.
“We have laid out our facility to enable us to provide student and internship opportunities that center on the STEM areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” said Chris Larsen, Larsen Motorsports CEO and co-founder
If the coming year is anything like 2015, it promises to be a busy one for the students, the Larsens and all of Larsen Motorsports. Last year, the team traveled the country – and into Canada – for a dozen races, while making numerous appearances with the 5,500-horsepower Florida Tech jet dragster, from the Melbourne Air Show to campus events including Discovery Day and homecoming.