The 53rd annual Louis Schwitzer Award was awarded to engineers Cara Adams, Brett Schilling and Phil Severyn for their expertise in developing the Firestone Firehawk 2019 Indy 500 Race Tire. Adams is the first female engineer to win a Louis Schwitzer award. BorgWarner and the Indiana Section of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International presented the award, along with a $10,000 prize, to the engineers at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).
“While the Borg-Warner Trophy celebrates the driver’s racing achievement, the Louis Schwitzer Award recognizes the efforts of the engineers who invent and develop innovative technologies in the NTT IndyCar Series,” said Frederic Lissalde, president and CEO, BorgWarner Inc. “Without their creativity, dedication and hard work, open wheel racing wouldn’t be at the level it is today, and we are honored to be able to recognize their efforts.”
Focusing on new technology with applications in the engine, powertrain, profile, chassis or safety, and that adhere to the Indy Racing Series specifications, the Louis Schwitzer Award honors engineers who develop innovative new concepts to improve competitive potential. It is presented to engineers, by engineers, and judges aim to recognize advancements that increase performance, safety or efficiency.
“As the official turbocharger supplier to the NTT IndyCar Series, we have a vested interest in seeing the Series’ technology advance and evolve. We are honored to once again sponsor this awards program and commend Cara, Brett and Phil for their excellence in engineering technologies that will help drive the racing industry forward,” continued Lissalde.
The innovative change in construction of the Firestone Firehawk 2019 Indy 500 Race Tire improved the footprint of the tire, resulting in the lateral grip being less dependent on aerodynamic downforce. In addition, a change in the tire compound improved the mechanical grip. These changes are especially beneficial in race traffic when the aero load on the right front tire is reduced due to leading car turbulence. The tire construction changes allow for a more consistent level of performance.
Beyond celebrating engineering excellence, the award memorializes Louis Schwitzer, who won the first auto race at the IMS in 1909 and designed the “Marmon Yellow Jacket” engine that powered the Marmon Wasp to victory at the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911. After founding Schwitzer Corporation in 1918, Schwitzer led the IMS technical committee and maintained a strong association with SAE throughout his career. BorgWarner acquired Schwitzer Corporation in 1999 to expand BorgWarner’s turbocharger and engine cooling system offerings.