Tech places in solar car race

The solar car racing in the 2021 American Solar challenge from Independence, Missouri to Las Vegas, Nevada. // Photo courtesy of news.gatech.edu

Tech’s Solar Racing Team had a big win last month at the American Solar Challenge, where their solar-powered car won fifth place in a race across the country.

Georgia Tech Solar Racing, or GTSR, is composed of over 50 students working together to build cars that are fully solar-powered.

The team has attended track competitions before, but this past summer they qualified for the American Solar challenge, or the ASC, which is a cross country race that spans 1700 miles across the United States. In order to qualify, the team competed in Austin, Texas in the Formula Sun Grand Prix.

The Formula Sun Grand Prix is a track race taking place over three days.

Because the car drives a much shorter distance, it requires different strategies and more frequent pit stops compared to a cross country race.

Teams who complete the most amount of laps around the track over the course of three days win.

GTSR’s present car, the SR-3 Endurance, competed for the first time in the 2019 Formula Sun Grand Prix.

After being built and put on the track in record time, the SR-3 has received many improvements over its two-year run and carried GTSR to fifth place in the 2021 American Solar Challenge.

The 2021 American Solar Challenge took place on a route starting in Independence, Missouri and ending in Las Vegas.

Cars are ranked on their time completing the route and being able to complete it without using a trailer to bring the car along. GTSR competed in the Single-Occupant Vehicle, or SOV, class.

At 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 3, the challenge started in Independence, Missouri, passing through Kansas and Colorado before completing in Las Vegas.

Endurance completed the route in just over 39 hours, placing it at fifth place behind MIT, Kentucky, Principia, and Illinois.

They were also given the Perseverance award.

There are 6 different divisions within the team: leadership, mechanical, electrical, race operations, business, and outreach — which allows students from all different majors and fields of study to participate.

The winning Institute team was composed from students representing all factions of the divisions listed.

While it is easy for the mechanical and electrical portions of the competition to take the forefront, the victory most certainly would not have come together without the hard work and perseverance of each and every member of the team.

The positioning not only continues to show Tech’s capabilities on the national level, but also bodes well for future solar car races that the team plans on competing in. You can read more about these divisions, the team, and joining GTSR at solarracing.gatech.edu.