Solar Car Challenge Brings 35 HS Teams From 13 States to TMS

09 Jul 2019
142 times

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 Solar Car Challenge Education Program began in 1993 with our first big race in 1995," said Solar Car Challenge Foundation President and Race Director Dr. Lehman Marks. "I am happy to say that we have worked with more than 50,000 students over these years. A day doesn't go by without one of those students writing me thanking me for what they learned. More of our participants go into actual jobs as Engineers or Scientists than any other STEM program."
The teams will spend Friday through Sunday scrutineering - also more commonly known as qualifying in racing terms - for the Solar Car Challenge in the NASCAR Cup garage located in the speedway infield. Dr. Marks and the competitors also will have a Media Day segment Sunday, July 14 that will run from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. in the garage area. Interested media planning to attend can contact the Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department at 817.215.8520 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
The Solar Car Challenge routinely alternates its race format between the teams competing on Texas Motor Speedway's 1.5-mile oval to a cross-country excursion. This year, they will spend four days (Monday-Thursday) making rounds on the TMS track with most classes going from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. and continuing from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. The Advanced Division will race solid from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. each day with a 30-minute break.

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.

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Steven B. Wilson

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