The Solar Car Challenge

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Solar Car Challenge
Established1993
Location
United States
Websitewww.solarcarchallenge/challenge [1]

The Solar Car Challenge is an annual solar-powered car race for high school students.The event attracts teams from around the world, but mostly from American high schools. The race was first held in 1995. Each event is the end product of a two-year education cycle launched by the Winston Solar Car Team. On odd-numbered years, the race is a road course that starts at the Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas; the end of the course varies from year to year. On even-numbered years, the race is a track race around the Texas Motor Speedway. Dell sponsored the event from 2002-2008. Hunt Oil Company sponsored the 2010 race. [1]

History of the Race[edit]

In 1993, the Solar Car Team launched an education program to teach high school students how to build and safely race roadworthy solar cars. The Solar Education Program met this objective, and worked to provide curriculum materials, on-site visits, and workshop opportunities for high schools across the country. This program was designed to motivate students in the sciences, engineering, and technology. The end product of each two-year education cycle is the Solar Car Challenge: a closed-track event at the world famous Texas Motor Speedway, or a cross country race designed to give students an opportunity to display their work.

Goal of The Solar Challenge[edit]

The Solar Car Challenge is designed to motivate students into science, engineering, technology, and green energy engineering. The participants not only learn about importance of science to effectively have their car go a farther distance, but also learn the importance of teamwork, where teams work harmoniously with one another to do well in this challenge.

The participants in this race like to think of this as a challenge, rather than a competition, because this race focuses more detail in partnership and unity. This is how the idea of "The Spirit of Solar Car Racing" derived from, establishing an award known as the Marx Award (a prestigious award given to a single team member every year).

Race Objective[edit]

Teams experience the fun of the Solar Car Challenge at the world famous Texas Motor Speedway. Car breakdowns, weather, and team experience limit the number of laps a team can drive each day. The team driving the most laps accumulated over the four days of racing will be declared the winner.

Solar Car Categories[edit]

The purpose of the Solar Car Challenge is to provide a level playing-field for high school solar car teams. Newer teams generally enter the Classic Division which requires participants to use less expensive conventional motors, lead acid batteries, and less efficient solar cells. Older teams enter the Open Division based on their use of more expensive technology. The new Advanced Division allows teams to use university body molds and more exotic batteries.

Admission into the Race[edit]

Teams seeking admission to the event must register their vehicle and demonstrate that their solar car complies with all the rules during a qualifying process known as “Scrutineering.” In cross-country races, teams are licensed in Texas as experimental vehicles, and carry liability insurance.

Safety & Supervision[edit]

Each car must have a roll cage, “crush zones,” safety harness, horn, communications, turn signals, and a fire extinguisher. Chase vehicles and trailers are available for support in the event of a breakdown on the track. All aspects of the Solar Car Challenge Rules are closely monitored. A wireless computer network helps race officials closely monitor the individual cars.

Media coverage[edit]

Media of Dell-Winston Solar Challenge, now Hunt-Winston Solar Challenge.jpg
  • The 2007 The Solar Car Challenge was featured on CNN affiliate KLTV.[2]
  • The Solar Car Challenge was named one of America's 10 most innovative education programs by Business Wire in 2003
  • The 2008 Solar Car Challenge's Promo Video can be seen here.[3]

Cross-Country[edit]

End of the 2010 Cross Country Race at the Colorado University

Past races have traveled from Round Rock, which is Dell Computers Headquarters to California, Florida, New York, and Indiana. These races usually take place on odd-numbered years, and takes place at the Texas Motor Speedway on even-numbered years.

Closed Track[edit]

Closed track at the Texas Motor Speedway

Closes Track are which take place at the Texas Motor Speedway usually take place on the odd-numbered years. These races normally go on for a week, while the Cross-Country take two to three weeks.

Intern Program[edit]

Former solar car team members are invited to help run the event in the Intern Program. Interns have come from teams from all over the USA and Mexico. Interns work alongside judges to help with scrutineering, judge teams during the event, and act as spotters during closed.

The Solar Car Challenge Education Program[edit]

The Solar Car Challenge is the product of the Solar Education Program. The Solar Car Challenge Foundation provides an international high school solar education program. Workshops, curriculum materials, DVD’s, and on site visits have introduced this challenge to more than 1100 schools in 20 countries. The Solar Car Challenge Foundation is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization.

Challenges[edit]

Year Competitors Location Winner Notes
1995 3 Dallas County, Texas Solar Shadow, Los Altos, Hacienda Heights, CA The 1995 race was a 70-mile circuit of Dallas County repeated over 3 days. The team completing the race in the shortest period of time was declared the winner.
1996 No Race
1997 6 Dallas, TX to San Antonio, TX Solar Shadow, Los Altos, Hacienda Heights, CA 1997 Race Rules calculate the winner by the highest average speed.
1998 4 Texas Motor Speedway Solar Stealth, Project RayC4 Knowledge, C4 Technology Program, Columbus, IN 3 Day Track Race
1999 5 Dallas, TX to Los Angeles, CA Solar Stealth, Project RayC4 Knowledge, C4 Technology Program, Columbus, IN 7 Day Cross-Country Race
2000 8 Texas Motor Speedway NFA Solar Racing Team, Newburgh Free Academy, Newburgh, NY 3 Day Track Race
2001 7 Round Rock, TX to Columbus, IN Sundancer II, Houston Vocational School, Houston, MS 8 Day Cross-Country Race
2002 9 Texas Motor Speedway Classic Division: AstroPower, The Winston Solar Car Team, The Winston School, Dallas, TX 3 Day Track Race
Open Division: Sundancer II, Houston Vocational School, Houston, MS
2003 5 Round Rock, TX to Cocoa Beach, FL Sundancer II, Houston Vocational School, Houston, MS 9 Day Cross-Country Race
2004 11 Texas Motor Speedway Classic Division: AstroPower, The Winston Solar Car Team, The Winston School, Dallas, TX 4 Day Track Race
Open Division: Sundancer II, Houston Vocational School, Houston, MS
2005 8 Round Rock, TX to Los Angeles, CA Classic Division: St Thomas Academy Experimental Vehicle Team, Mendota Heights, MN 8 Day Cross-Country Race
Open Division: Sundancer II, Houston Vocational School, Houston, MS
2006 14 Texas Motor Speedway Classic Division: St Thomas Academy Experimental Vehicle Team, Mendota Heights, MN 4 Day Track Race
Open Division: Sundancer II, Houston Vocational School, Houston, MS
2007 8 Round Rock, TX to Newburgh, NY Classic Division: Hightech Redneck, Newton County Solar Car Team, Newton County Career & Technical Center Decatur, MS For the 2007 race a tie was declared because both teams finished completed the course (689.1 mi) and had total running time was within 1%
Open Division (TIE): Sundancer II, Houston Vocational School, Houston, MS
Open Division (TIE): Sol Machine VII, NFA Solar Racing Team, Newburgh Free Academy, Newburgh, NY
2008 15 Texas Motor Speedway Classic Division: Sundancer I, Houston Vocational School, Houston, MS 4 Day Track Race
Open Division: Sundancer II, Houston Vocational School, Houston, MS
2009 16 Texas Motor Speedway Classic Division: Solar Knight II, South Plantation High School Solar Knights, South Plantation High School, Plantation, FL 4 Day Track Race
Open Division: Sundancer II, Houston Solar Race Team, Houston High School, Houston, MS
2010 12 Fort Worth, TX to Boulder, CO Classic Division: Sundancer II, Houston Solar Race Team, Houston High School, Houston, MS 7 Day Cross-Country Race
Open Division: Sundancer I, Houston Lady Racers, Houston Vocational School, Houston, MS
Advanced Division: Tushka Hashi III, CCHS Solar Car Project, Choctaw Central High School, Choctaw MS
2011 16 Texas Motor Speedway Classic Division: Sundancer II, Houston Lady Racers, Houston High School, Houston, MS 4 Day Track Race
Open Division: Sundancer, Houston Solar Race Team, Houston High School, Houston, MS
Advanced Division: Solar Knight III, South Plantation High School Solar Knights Racing Team, South Plantation High School, Plantation, FL
2012 17 Texas Motor Speedway Classic Division: Sundancer II, Houston Lady Racers, Houston Vocational School, Houston, MS 4 Day Track Race
Open Division: Sundancer, Houston Solar Race Team, Houston High School, Houston, MS
Advanced Division: Tushka Hashi III, CCHS Solar Car Project, Choctaw Central High School, Choctaw MS
2013 14 Fort Worth, Texas to Los Angeles, CA Classic Division: Cat 3.0, Byron Nelson Bobcats Solar Racing Team, Byron Nelson High School, Trophy Club, TX 8 Day Cross-Country Race
Open Division: Sundancer, Houston Solar Race Team, Houston High School, Houston, MS
Advanced Division: Volt I, Ulster BOCES VoltTech, Ulster Board of Cooperative Educational Services, Port Ewen, NY
2014 18 Texas Motor Speedway / Fort Worth to Austin Classic Division: Cat 3.1, Byron Nelson Bobcats Solar Racing Team, Byron Nelson High School, Trophy Club, TX 2 Day Track Race, 2 Day Road Race
Open Division: Sundancer I, Houston Solar Race Team, Houston High School, Houston, MS
Advanced Division: Tushka III, CCHS Solar Car Project, Choctaw Central High School, Choctaw MS
2015 24 Texas Motor Speedway Classic Division: Cat 3.1, Byron Nelson Bobcats Solar Racing Team, Byron Nelson High School, Trophy Club, TX 4 Day Track Race
Open Division: Tushka III, CCHS Solar Car Project, Choctaw Central High School, Choctaw MS
Advanced Division: Urban Concept 3, St Thomas Academy Experimental Vehicle Team, St Thomas Academy, Mendota Heights, MN
2016 17 Fort Worth to Minneapolis Classic Division: Iron Lion III, Iron Lions, Greenville High School, Greenville, TX 7 Day Cross Country Race
Veteran Classic Division: Cat 3.1, Byron Nelson Bobcats Solar Racing Team, Byron Nelson High School, Trophy Club, TX
Advanced Division: Sundancer, Houston Solar Race Team, Houston School of Science and Technology, Houston, MS
Electric-Solar Powered Division: STEAM Engine, Titan Solar Car Club, Plano ISD Academy High School, Plano, TX
2017 20 Texas Motor Speedway Classic Division: Iron Lion III, Iron Lions, Greenville High School, Greenville, TX 4 Day Track Race
Advanced Division: Sheerluck Ohms, Walnut Solar Car Team, Walnut Valley Unified School District, Walnut, CA
Electric-Solar Powered Division: Regulus II, Iron Lions, Greenville High School, Greenville, TX
2018 19 Fort Worth, TX to Palmdale, CA Classic Division: Solar Cat V2, The Solar Cats, Western High School, Davie, FL 7 Day Cross Country Race
Advanced Classic Division: Iron Lion III, Iron Lions, Greenville High School, Greenville, TX
Advanced Division: Sundancer, Houston Solar Race Team, Houston High School, Houston, MS
Electric-Solar Powered Division: Saint Helios, All Saints' Solar Car Team, All Saints Episcopal School, Forth Worth, TX

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About the Solar Car Challenge". Solar Car Challenge (official website). Retrieved 2007-08-06.
  2. ^ Tracy Watler (reporter) (July 18, 2007). Racing on solar power (Flash) (television report). KLTV/CNN.
  3. ^ Racing on solar power (Flash). July 18, 2006.