Salt Lake Community College students played an important role before Porsche Race Days Sept. 18 through Sept. 20 at Miller Motorsports Park.
Volunteer students from the automotive technician program approached each Porsche, BMW, Scion, Viper and Subaru in the parking lot and began to verify that the cars met the standards needed to participate in the Intermountain Region Porsche Club of America (IRPCA) event.
“I chose the SLCC Automotive Program because it is close and has a good reputation,” says student Ricky Callahan. “Porsche Race Days changed what I want to do by seeing all these race teams. It has opened possibilities for my career.”
Into his second year at SLCC, his education has helped him get a job and expand his skills from his basic, home-taught abilities.
SLCC was recommended to Diane Johnstone, the volunteer coordinator for the IRPCA, to assist during the race events. Johnstone and a colleague toured the automotive program and asked the students if they were interested in helping out. SLCC has been invited for two years now.
Assistant professor Dennis O’Reilly supervised and directed the students during the three days of racing.
Everyone in attendance was given the opportunity to drive their cars on the track during lunchtime.
“Working on a team or at a track is now an option to be considered for my future,” says student Mason Becker. He added that being behind the wheel is not as easy as it looks.
Darren Law, program manager of Flying Lizard Motorsports, emphasizes the importance of having some automotive experience, especially a degree, prior to joining a race team.
“Contact the teams. Let them know your background. You’ll have to start at the bottom level and there’s always an opportunity to move up,” says Law.
Students left a good impression on IRPCA workers.
Paul Larson, a fellow volunteer, says that everyone in attendance was a car enthusiast and the help of the students was invaluable.
The automotive program is open for anyone who wants to work on cars, motorcycles or other motorized vehicles.
“Just do it,” says Callahan. “Classes are really fun — not like your basic, boring, hard classes. You’re in class for about an hour and a half and the rest of the time you’re in the shop with hands-on work.”