Area youth have a new look into auto racing, and a pathway to positive life choices, with the new Rev Racing Motorsports Academy.
The academy’s goal is to provide a safe, nurturing environment that introduces children to opportunities many aren’t aware of. It’s the brainchild of Indianapolis native Max Siegel, who got the idea from NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity, a program to increase minority and female participation, which he heads.
“His thought was to implement something for younger students and youth in our community, and to give them a platform to start early,” Rev Racing Motorsports Academy and Max Siegel Inc. spokesperson Christy Gormal said.
The academy, located at 5294 East 65th Street in Indianapolis, is now open for one-day experiences and after school two days per week. One-day visits cost $25 for nonprofits or $50 for regular enrollees. After-school sessions from 3:30 to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays are $25 per day. Week-long camps start in June.
In addition to an introduction to motorsports, the academy uses it to teach financial literacy, healthy lifestyles and leadership development for those ages 8-18.
Racing elements include simulation driving, driver safety, racing theory and pit crew challenges. There’s a race shop, classroom, cafeteria, office space, two bandelero cars, two legend cars, go-karts, a junior dragster, computers, a media production area and more.
The academy exposes attendees to the many opportunities that exist within racing.
“Motorsports in general is really trying to integrate several cultures, not just white, young men,” Gormal said. “And it isn’t just about being a driver. There are so many careers involved in it.”
The idea and structure of the academy go back to Siegel, who’s had a remarkable life path.
Siegel, 49, was kidnapped by his father at 5 years old, and was told, along with his younger sister, that their mother was dead. Their home was filled with drugs and alcohol, an environment that was repeated when they reunited with their mom following their dad’s succumbing to cancer.