Since 1993 the Solar Car Challenge has been one of the premier ways for high school students to come together in the name of STEM research and competition to build something truly impressive, a fully functional solar-powered vehicle, and starting Friday 35 teams from across the country descend upon Texas Motor Speedway to put their cars to the test.A contingent of 16 North Texas teams highlights the field as teams travel to the world-renowned motorsports facility from as close as nine miles and as far as 2,037 miles away, all for the chance to test their mettle over a course of four race days on the 1.5-mile speedway.The Solar Car Challenge is an educational program designed to help motivate students in science, engineering and alternative energy, and teach students how to design, engineer, build, race and evaluate road-worthy solar cars. The Solar Car Challenge Foundation, based in Plano, Texas, is celebrating its 26th anniversary this year.
The North Texas contingent that will compete in the Solar Car Challenge consists of 16 teams: Arlington Martin, Plano Green Team, Mineral Wells, Coppell (2 teams), Covenant Christian (Colleyville - 2 teams), Prosper, Ben Barber Innovation Academy (Mansfield), The Winston School (Dallas), Wylie East, Greenville (2 teams), Libery Christian (Argyle), Harmony Science Academy (Euless), and All Saints' Episcopal School (Fort Worth).Also representing Texas are Harmony School of Innovation (Brownsville), Stony Point Solar (Round Rock), School of Science and Technology San Antonio, and Southwest Legacy High School (Von Ormy).The other states being represented by teams are:
- Arkansas - LISA Academy North (Little Rock)
- California - Northwood High School (Irvine); Palmdale High School (Palmdale)
- Colorado - Animas High School (Durango)
- Florida - North Tampa Christian Academy (Wesley Chapel)
- Illinois - Pana High School (Pana)
- Kentucky - Bath County High School (Owingsville)
- Oklahoma - Dove Science Academy (Oklahoma City)
- Michigan - Heroes' Alliance (Detroit); Okemos High School (Okemos)
- Mississippi - Houston Career and Technology Center (Houston)
- Missouri - Frontier STEM High School (Kansas City)
- New York - Staten Island Tech High School (Staten Island)
- Washington - Raisbeck Aviation High School (Tukwila)
High school teams began preparation for these yearlong solar car projects during education workshops in September of last year. Additional workshops, on-site visits, mentor opportunities and summer camps helped the projects come to fruition. The teams will compete in four divisions - Classic, Advanced Classic (used their classic car for more than three years), Advanced and Electric-Solar Powered - in the closed circuit race.Science & Technology magazine named the Solar Car Challenge as one of the top Science & Engineering programs in the country.The Solar Car Challenge has 211 high school solar car projects in various stages of development in anticipation of an upcoming solar racing event. Teams are located in 37 states, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas.For more information and race updates on the Solar Car Challenge, please visit solarcarchallenge.org.