Bama Alumni Starts Sports Car Team That Involves U Of A Engineering Interns
University of Alabama engineering students are getting an up-close look at the world of racing with the formation of Capstone Motorsports, a new team in the Pirelli GT4 America SprintX sports car series led by Alabama graduate John Allen.
Several students are in Sonoma, CA, this weekend for the team’s debut as part of an internship program.
Capstone Motorsports continues Allen’s longtime support of his alma mater, the University of Alabama College of Engineering, with a trackside sports car racing internship program designed specifically to immerse UA Engineering students in the data-driven and technology aspects of modern-day sports car racing.
The car competes in the “Am” class in the twin 60-minute races Saturday and Sunday at the legendary track located in one of Northern California’s wine countries (the other being Napa, of course). Allen will be at wheel of the No. 16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4, along with co-driver Kris Wilson.
Allen, a 1979 UA College of Engineering graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, was named in 2018 a UA Distinguished Engineering Fellow in acknowledgement of his vast professional, military and philanthropic achievements. It was at that year’s Distinguished Engineering Fellows induction celebration that Allen shared his vision for an engineering-based internship program in the high-tech world of modern-day sports car racing.
The establishment of Capstone Motorsports continues an evolution for Allen and the UA Engineering internship program, which has been an at-track technical curriculum the last couple of years.
Racing for more than 30 years, Wilson won a 2016 Pirelli World Challenge driver championship and has competed on every major racetrack in North America over the past few decades.
“Sports car racing today is about so much more than just driving fast and flat out,” Allen said. “Along with driver ability, engineering is the most important aspect of success in today’s high-tech arena of sports car racing.
“We established the internship program a couple of years ago to open this world to UA Engineering students that might not be aware this incredible opportunity exists. Establishing Capstone Motorsports is another key step in the growth of both our racing team and the internship program.”
Co-driver Wilson said: “only two goals for the year: to win races and the championship. Anything less will be a disappointment.”
He sounds like Nick Saban with that statement. Of course, if the team wins like the school’s football team then it’s going to a hugely successful endeavor.
Sonoma’s pair of 60 minute Pirelli GT4 America SprintX races stream live for free via SRO’s GT World YouTube Channel. Saturday’s opening race goes green at 4:05 p.m. PST with Sunday’s second and final one-hour race of the weekend scheduled to start at 10:55 a.m. PST.
Fans can follow the team on its Instagram, @CapstoneMotorsports