The Houston, Mississippi (population 4,079) Sundancer solar car team won the Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge open division championship trophy at Texas Motor Speedway for the sixth consecutive year. During the challenge’s four days and seven racing periods of three hours each, the Sundancer solar car traveled more than 619 miles (413 laps), at an averaged a speed of almost 30 mph, reached a top speed of approximately 60 mph and completed more laps than any of the 13 other cars competing in the race.
Powered exclusively by solar energy, this year’s Sundancer weighed 356 kg, and is 5 meters long, 1.8 meters wide and 1 meter high. Energy from 856 SCHOTT Solar cells is stored in nine Power Sonic sealed lead acid batteries (only lead acid batteries are permitted to reduce cost and provide standardization), which feed electricity to an 8 hp SLC150 New Generation Motor. The car was built entirely by high school students. The body of the car is made from 3/4 inch foam board insulation.
The Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge is the largest solar car competition in the United States. The Challenge is designed to encourage young people to study science, engineering, and technology. In the Challenge, teams of high school students from around the world design, build and race solar powered cars. On even numbered years the event takes place on a closed track at the world famous Texas Motor Speedway. On odd numbered years teams trek cross-country.
This annual event has taught more than 3,000 participating students about technology, teamwork, problem-solving and commitment – skills they’ll need to compete in the 21st century economy – and has inspired thousands of others to get involved in long-term science projects.
Dell, Inc. is the title sponsor of the annual competition. Past participants in the program have moved on become engineers at NASA and with the Army Corps of Engineers
Resource: Sundancer Car, Powered by SCHOTT, Captures Checkered Flag at the 2006 Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge, Schott news release, July 21, 2006