The popular Hot Rodders of Tomorrow effort continues to inspire the next generation of performance professionals.
The nonprofit organization hosts engine-building challenges across the country in which high school teams compete against each other in complete engine rebuilds.
With its sixth regular season completed, the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow effort has impacted more than 3,114 students, encouraging their automotive passion and skill, according to a press release.
“Growing up in this industry in a family business in the 1970s, I have been disappointed by the lack of the ‘next generation’ getting excited about our industry,” said John DeBlaso, vice president of purchasing for AAM. “Of course, there is much more to occupy young folks’ attentions today than we had 30-40 years ago. The Hot Rodders of Tomorrow program is just what we need to help promote our industry and fuel a passion for the next generation of ‘car guys and gals.’ If you have not witnessed one of these events, do it, to see the passion and the teamwork there.”
So far this year, 10 events across the country featured 110 teams-”including three all-female teams-”made up of 770 students. The teams compete during the regular season in efforts to reach the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Championship.
In an inaugural dual championship format, qualifying teams will face off at either the SEMA or PRI trade shows. The top two teams from SEMA will take on the top two teams from PRI in the finale to crown the 2014 Engine Challenge Champion.
“Who would have thought that the level of competition just a short six years ago would have ever been this tight or this competitive?” asked Jim LaFevers, who coached the 2013 National Championship Team. “Six years ago, 47 minutes wins the national title. Today you don’t even qualify unless you are in the low-30s. And, for national title hopes, you’d better be in the low-20s or high teens because seconds will separate the top eight teams. Oh yes, did I mention these are high school students and not professionals-”yet!”