The High School Solar Car Challenge: Day 1

Here are the unofficial lap counts for Day 1 of the (High School) Solar Car Challenge at the Texas Motor Speedway. The symbols at the top of each bar refer to my car identification chart. Catamaran cars (stars) are doing well, as is the symmetric streamlined car (dot) from Staten Island. Black squares next to names indicate new teams. The Holy Solars (from Kent School, Kent, CT) are doing especially well, having built a very good-looking car.

Covenant Christian Academy’s pair of almost-identical cars are about as aerodynamic as a “table-top” solar car (dagger symbol at top of bar) can be. Their Advanced Division car, Cougar Pride, is 90 kg lighter than its Cougar Spirit partner (mostly a reduction in battery weight), with more efficient solar panels, and a hub motor (which is why it has one rear wheel instead of two). I expect Covenant Christian Academy to do very well in both divisions that they’ve entered. Nevertheless, the results so far do show the aerodynamic superiority of the catamaran design.

Two views of the Advanced Classic Division car Cougar Spirit from Covenant Christian Academy, Colleyville, TX (SCC scrutineering photos). It has since acquired an orange nose, to distinguish it from its blue-nosed three-wheeled Advanced Division partner.

In general, I’ve been very impressed by the dedication and skill of both the experienced and the new teams. Several of these high school teams would put university students to shame. Let me finish with an action shot (click to zoom):

Staten Island’s High Energy #5 (Advanced Div) leads North Tampa Christian Academy’s The Solar Stroller (Classic Div) which is being overtaken by the colourful Miss Fifinella of the Women’s Air Service Patrol (WASP, Classic Div). Also overtaking is the orange-nosed Cougar Spirit from Covenant Christian Academy (Advanced Classic), with KCAL’s Deus Volt (Classic) at the rear (SCC race photo).

And another one:

Wylie East’s blue East Beast–Xtreme (Advanced Classic) overtakes KCAL’s Deus Volt (Classic), which is followed by the red-and-white Appalachian Spirit of the Kentucky Solar Cats, in the same division (SCC race photo).


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