American Solar Challenge 2016 Updated Status

Listed below are the 20 remaining solar car teams competing in the American Solar Challenge 2016, with their current status based on the latest scrutineering results as at 20:11 on Thursday 28 July EDT. Social media hyperlinks are also provided (click on the icons). Team 13 (Michigan State) appears to have withdrawn, while Teams 24 (Waterloo), 57 (SIUE), and 786 (Western Michigan) have not passed scrutineering.

Registration and scrutineering for the race began on 22 July, the qualifying track race (FSGP 2016) began on 26 July, and the ASC itself begins on 30 July, with the Award Ceremony being held on 6 August. See this official list for scrutineering details, follow the ASC on Facebook and on Twitter, and check out the illustrated route details I posted earlier.

There are four kinds of cars in the American Solar Challenge this year:

  • Three-wheeled cars like #3 (Kentucky) – these tend to be the fastest, but are no longer legal in the World Solar Challenge, and so teams intending to race in the World Solar Challenge do not build them. There are eight three-wheeled cars at ASC 2016.
  • Asymmetrical four-wheeled cars like #2 (Michigan) or #77 (Toronto) – these are the cars that win the modern World Solar Challenge, because of the aerodynamic advantages of having the driver between the front and back wheel on one side (although there are some engineering challenges in building asymmetrical cars).
  • Symmetrical four-wheeled cars like #32 (Principia) – having the driver in the centre, these are a little slower than the asymmetrical cars (in the 2015 World Solar Challenge, the fastest symmetrical car finished 8th), but they avoid some of the problems that asymmetry brings. Eight cars at ASC 2016 are in this category.
  • Cruisers like #24 (Waterloo) or #35 (Minnesota) – these cars feature practicality and the ability to carry passengers rather than just raw speed, and are built to race in the World Solar Challenge Cruiser class. Racing Cruisers appears to be increasingly popular.

It will be interesting to see how these four types of solar car will perform at ASC 2016.

US  2 – MichiganPASS (10 greens), grid #1  

Michigan came 4th in the 2015 World Solar Challenge in Australia and won ASC 2014, making them the fastest American team. As always, they have had a very professional pre-race testing programme. Their speedy asymmetrical car is named Aurum, and is described here. The car has been modified to fit ASC rules, with a new “safety bulge” beside the driver. This “bulge” has an aerodynamic cost, as well as incurring a daily 6-minute race penalty for exceeding maximum car size limits. However, Michigan are still race favourites. They start the FSGP in pole position, being first through scrutineering.

US  3 – KentuckyPASS (10 greens), grid #4  

Their car is named Gato del Sol V. It is three-wheeled.

US  6 – Berkeley (CalSol)PASS, minor issues (3 issues), grid #15  

Their car is named Zephyr. It is four-wheeled and symmetrical.

US  9 – Iowa State (PrISUm)PASS (10 greens), grid #11  

This team won FSGP 2015 and came third in ASC 2014. They have a teaser video for ASC 2016 here, and there is also some news coverage with details on their car, which is a three-wheeler named Phaëton 2. Their next car (for WSC 2017) is planned to be a four-seat Cruiser named Penumbra.

US  11 – NorthwesternPASS, minor issues (3 issues), grid #13  

Their three-wheeled car is named SC6, and is described here. They are also building an SC7 for future races.

CH  15 – ZHAW (Solar Energy Racers)PASS (10 greens), grid #16  

This Swiss team came 5th in the 2013 World Solar Challenge, but did not race in 2015. They came 11th in the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge. They are partnered with the American Team 51. Their car is named SER-1, and is an older three-wheeled car, which raced in Australia in 2011. They have had a litany of problems during scrutineering.

US  17 – Illinois StatePASS (10 greens), grid #5  

Their car is named Mercury 5s, and is a rebuilt version of the Mercury V car lost to a battery fire in 2014. The car is four-wheeled and symmetrical. Going by Facebook, the team was still doing construction on July 19, but had a successful late-night test, and here they are.

CA  24 – Waterloo (Midnight Sun)Problems (2 issues), no grid pos  

This team have fielded a very interesting-looking carbon fibre Cruiser, weighing 420 kg. Their car is named Midnight Sun XI, and is described here. There is some news coverage of the team here.

US  32 – PrincipiaPASS (10 greens), grid #7  

Principia came 17th in the 2015 World Solar Challenge in Australia (7.19 hours behind Toronto) and 6th in the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge. They have had a very professional pre-race testing programme. Their well-travelled symmetrical four-wheeled car is named Ra 9, and is described here. They report that the wet brake test in dynamic scrutineering was challenging.

US  35 – MinnesotaPASS, minor issues (Electrical), grid #2  

Minnesota came 5th in the 2015 World Solar Challenge Cruiser Class, the only American team in that class. They have had a very professional pre-race testing and team bonding programme, but their solar car has been getting strange reactions from truckers. Their car is named Eos, and is described here. They are reporting their race experiences on their website here. They are in second pole position for FSGP.

US  42 – Missouri S&TPASS, minor issues (Dynamics), grid #12  

This team is racing the latest in their Solar Miner series. There is some news coverage of the team here.

US  49 – Georgia TechPASS, minor issues (2 issues), grid #17  

Their new symmetrical four-wheeled aluminium-chassis car is named SR-2, and is described here. The team is not particularly active on social media.

US  51 – Dunwoody (American S.E.R.)PASS (10 greens), grid #14  

This team, made up of apprentices from Buhler North America in conjunction with Dunwoody College of Technology, is partnered with the Swiss Team 15. They were one of the first teams to set up camp at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. Their car is named SER-2. Provided by their Swiss colleagues, it is four-wheeled and symmetrical.

CA  55 – Poly MontrealPASS (10 greens), grid #3  

This team came second in FSGP 2015. Their car is named Esteban 8. It is four-wheeled and symmetrical. Apparently they had to do some repairs after an incident during road-testing, but the car is fine now.

US  57 – SIUEIncomplete (8 issues), no grid pos  

Their car is named NOVA. It is three-wheeled. On arrival at Pittsburgh International Race Complex, it seems that some assembly was still required.

CA  77 – Toronto (Blue Sky)PASS, minor issues (Battery Prot), grid #9  

Toronto came 12th in the 2015 World Solar Challenge in Australia (8.76 hours behind Michigan). Their car is named Horizon. It is asymmetrical, but they do not seem to have had the same kind of difficulties with the ASC rules as Michigan have. There is a campus news story on the team here.

CA  92 – ETS QuebecPASS (10 greens), grid #8  

Their new symmetrical four-wheeled titanium-chassis car is named Éclipse 9, and is described here. The car appears to be overly wide, and has attracted a daily 3-minute race penalty (half that of Michigan).

CA  116 – McMasterPASS, minor issues (Support), grid #10  

Their car is named Spitfire, and is described here. It is three-wheeled, with an aluminium chassis.

US  786 – Western Michigan (Sunseeker)FAIL (Battery Prot), no grid pos  

Their new symmetrical four-wheeled carbon-fibre car is named Sunseeker 2016, and is described here. The team were late arrivals at Pittsburgh International Race Complex, because of car problems.

US  828 – Appalachian State (Sunergy)PASS, minor issues (Support), grid #6  

Their car is named Apperion. It is three-wheeled. There is some news coverage of the team here.

Click photos for larger images and photo credits, and see also the route map below.


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7 thoughts on “American Solar Challenge 2016 Updated Status

  1. Pingback: American Solar Challenge 2016 Current Status | Scientific Gems

    • Because Iowa State won FSGP 2015? Remember that the top teams tend to skip the odd-numbered years so as to focus on the WSC in Australia.

      Iowa State came third in ASC 2014. I don’t really see them beating Michigan this year. Michigan has, as far as I know, won every single NASC/ASC since 2005, and I don’t expect that to change this year.

      • I’m very familiar with ASC/FSGP history. Iowa State just has a more aerodynamic and lighter car, and Michigan will reportedly be penalized for their excessively wide car.

      • Well, that penalty could indeed bite. But my money is still on Michigan. Winning is not just about the car, and Michigan are very, very good at racing (though not quite as good as the Dutch).

        But if (1) you’re right, and Iowa State score an upset win, and (2) you make it to Australia for WSC, I’ll shout you a beer.

      • You’re right, they usually have the most reliable car and well-trained team, but this is the first time since 2003 they haven’t had the most efficient car at ASC. Not sure if I’ll make it back to WSC again, but cheers!

  2. Pingback: American Solar Challenge 2016 Progress Report | Scientific Gems

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