UIC Motorsports showcases talent at Chicago Auto Show

Check out vehicles designed and built by students from the UIC Motorsports: Society of Automotive Engineers team at the Chicago Auto Show through Feb. 18.

The UIC Motorsports display is located behind the Lexus booth at the Chicago Auto Show, which is held at McCormick Place, 2301 S. King Drive.

“This a good location, right in the middle of the Auto Show, directly behind Lexus,” said Jon Komperda, lecturer in mechanical and industrial engineering and the group’s faculty adviser.

At the show, students from UIC Motorsports are showcasing the Formula and Baja vehicles they designed and built.

“It’s a good way for us to put ourselves out there, to be known,” said Kristopher Gardner, president of UIC Society of Automotive Engineers. “We get to talk to all sorts of people.”

So far, UIC Motorsports has showcased its work to a wide variety of individuals at the show, including school-age children alumni, business professionals and more.

“You just see them light up. This is something in the future that they could actually do,” Gardner said about some of the group’s younger visitors. “It opens their minds up to some of the possibilities that are out there.

“Just because you are an engineer doesn’t mean you are going to be sitting behind a desk. There are some really cool hands-on things that you can do.”

The vehicles that the students built are for more than just show — students also enter them in competitions throughout the year. They are also working on designing a third type of vehicle: Formula Electric.

“[UIC Motorsports] is a place where really any student can come and learn more about automotive in general,” Gardner said. “It’s definitely a learning environment.”

Gardner enjoys the welcoming environment of UIC Motorsports, where he’s gained a lot of valuable skills and experience.

“It’s like a home away from home,” he said.

The organization meets often throughout the semester in its campus office in the Science and Engineering Labs.

“The lights are always on, and somebody’s always working,” Komperda said.

For more information, visit sae.uic.edu.