PRI 2016: SAM Tech Prepares Students For Motorsports Careers

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The School of Automotive Machinists (SAM Tech), is one of few academic programs in the United States that truly offers an all-encompassing curriculum to help students passionate about motorsports launch a career.

This year at PRI we stopped by the booth to see one of the latest class-built projects, built by students using all the in-house resources and expertise.

“This is a project that we’ve done for the owner’s racecar, it’s a 430 cubic inch LS and it makes 1,058 horsepower on motor. It’s all student built and done in house,” explained Travis Hilger. “We start the decision making process in terms of what we want the car to run. With the guidance of our instructors we’ll go over what parts we’re going to use.”

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With a multitude of specialized courses at SAM Tech, different departments were able to contribute to the final result.

“We stuck with the inline style head because of the weight penalties for having a canted valve head. Our cylinder head instructor Shawn Hooper and his students have some of the baddest cylinder head and intake development on the market. Chris Bennet and the guys in the bottom-end course, developed the rotating assembly and got the cam degreed,” Hilger continued.

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“We have our tuning department that once we got into the car, they went to the track to tune the Holley EFI. Our tuning students were there and made decisions on calibrations. Our CNC department made all the accessories and adaptors in house. Anything you can dream up they can make, we have a 3- and 5-axis machine that we teach on.”

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The result of all this skill and experience is not only a class of well-prepared machinists, mechanics and engine builders, but also a mean LS platform powerplant that ran NMCA to success.

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About the author

Trevor Anderson

Trevor Anderson comes from an eclectic background of technical and creative disciplines. His first racing love can be found in the deserts of Baja California. In 2012 he won the SCORE Baja 1000 driving solo from Ensenada to La Paz in an aircooled VW. Trevor is engaged with hands-on skill sets such as fabrication and engine building, but also the theoretical discussion of design and technology. Trevor has a private pilot's license and is pursuing an MFA in fine art - specifically researching the aesthetics of machines, high performance materials and their social importance to enthusiast culture.
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