JULY 2016 COMPETITION
The Formula Sun Grand Prix, the pre-qualifier for the American Solar Challenge, is a competition open to collegiate teams from around the world. Formula Sun is a three-day track event where teams aim to complete the most laps. The Formula Sun Grand Prix will take place at PittRace, in Pittsburgh, PA. Solar vehicles are first evaluated with rigorous time trials and testing of the systems. Slalom, figure 8, water-soaked stopping, egress, and scrutineering all test the vehicle as well as teams ability to function under normal and extreme commuter operating conditions. Teams operate in true racing fashion, making hot pit stops for tire and driver changes while monitoring the solar irradiance (solar energy) and their batteries to determine their optimum speed. Formula Sun promotes energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources of energy through the design, development, and demonstration of customized vehicles. Through their challenges and the efforts made by the teams, they raise public awareness and enthusiasm of alternative technologies that make fewer demands on the environment. Click here for FSGP home page.
The American Solar Challenge is an international race across the Americas that is roughly 1800 miles long. The race route has us racing from Eastern Ohio to South Dakota. This year the race organizers have partnered with the National Park Service and they have established every checkpoint at a National Park. During these stage stops the public will get a chance to see the solar cars, learn about sustainable transportation, and enjoy the spirit of racing. The race is conducted over a five to eight day period with daily checkpoints for recovery of the vehicle and recharge of the batteries. All the vehicles are truly road tested to insure the viability of running the vehicle on American roadways. Click here for American Solar Challenge home page.
FURTHER OUTLOOK: OCTOBER 2017
The World Solar Challenge is a highly-acclaimed international race that takes place in Australia every other year. The race requires solar vehicles to travel 3000 kilometers across the entire Australian continent. There are three different classes of vehicles that can compete. The class that the App State Solar Vehicle Team is striving to compete in is the Cruiser Class. This class is a true racing class with vehicles that are designed to be roadworthy, as well as fast enough to pass commuter cars up to 145 kph. These are the best competitors from around the globe with technologies that are more advanced than some components used in space. Click here for World Solar Challenge home page.
GLOBAL SOLAR CAR RACES
Eventually, the team would love to compete in as many global competitions as possible. Though ambitious, the team believes in spreading the knowledge and sharing in the excitement of solar vehicle races. Here is a list of most solar car races around the globe:
World Solar Challenge, Australia
iLumen European Solar Challenge, Europe
Sasol Solar Challenge, South Africa
Carrera Solar Aticama, South America
Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, United Arab Emirates
Cyprus Solar Car Challenge, Cyprus
FIA Alternate Energies Cup Solar Car Race Suzuka, Japan