Tech's Solar Racing Headed for American Solar Challenge

The American Solar Challenge starts today in Hastings, Nebraska, and Tech’s Solar Racing team will be there with its solar-powered vehicle to compete against 23 other schools from across the country. 

Solar Racing has been competing in the Challenge’s Formula Sun Grand Prix, a track-style event, since 2014, but this will be the team’s first year in the American Solar Challenge, a cross-country road race.

“It’s going to be new terrain for us, and we will be camping and racing across the Oregon Trail,” said Tiffany Chau, a mechanical engineering major and outreach lead for the team. Chau also works on the mechanical team for the challenge, specifically on the aerobody, the car’s exterior shell. “Since we’ve never competed in a long-term endurance race, it will be an exciting challenge.”

The team left Tuesday, July 3, to arrive by today for the first part of the event, scrutineering. During scrutineering, race officials examine each solar car to ensure that it satisfies competition regulations and matches information provided in the accompanying vehicle design report. Team members work with officials to answer questions and implement any necessary changes to their vehicle prior to the start of the race.

Solar Racing unveiled its car — the SR-2, Odyssey — to the campus community at the end of the spring semester at the Kessler Campanile. Watch video from the unveiling.

The Formula Sun Grand Prix, which serves as the qualifying event for the American Solar Challenge, will run from July 10–12. The American Solar Challenge will run from July 14–22. Participating teams will have 10 stops along the 1,700-mile journey, ultimately crossing the finish line in Bend, Oregon.

“Our hope, of course, is to place as high as we can in rankings with other schools from across the nation,” Chau said. “We hope to prove that our systems are robust, reliable, and competitive.”

Solar Racing will post updates of the team’s progress throughout the competition. Follow along on Facebook, and learn more about the American Solar Challenge competition and events.

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  • Solar Racing SR-2, Odyssey

    Solar Racing SR-2, Odyssey

  • Solar Racing SR-2, Odyssey, and Solar Racing team

    Solar Racing SR-2, Odyssey, and Solar Racing team

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Kristen Bailey

Institute Communications