Solar car team wins race

The University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project team came away June 5 with a decisive first-place finish in the 2009 Formula Sun Grand Prix, a closed-track race at MotorSport Ranch in Cresson, Texas.

Solar Car C PhotoWith its latest solar-powered car, named Centaurus, the team of engineering students from the university's Institute of Technology completed 487 laps on the 1.7-mile, road-style track (827.9 miles total) throughout the three-day race. This was 94 more laps than the second-place finisher University of Kentucky. Northwestern University placed third. The University of Minnesota team also ran the fastest lap at two minutes and 20 seconds. Eleven solar car teams from across the country participated in the event this year.

"The team did a great job, helped others and pulled off a very clean race," said Adem Rudin, the student crew chief of the University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project team.

Solar Car A PhotoThis is the second consecutive Formula Sun Grand Prix victory for the University of Minnesota team. The race was last held in 2005 at the Heartland Park Raceway in Topeka, Kan., where the University of Minnesota solar car Borealis III took first place.

This is the second consecutive Formula Sun Grand Prix victory for the University of Minnesota team. The race was last held in 2005 at the Heartland Park Raceway in Topeka, Kan., where the University of Minnesota solar car Borealis III took first place.

Solar Car B PhotoOver the next year the University of Minnesota team will focus its efforts on designing and building the team's next-generation, completely solar-powered car, Centaurus II, the ninth car in the team's 19-year history. The Solar Vehicle Project team is funded by generous private donations from corporations and individuals.

For more information, visit the University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project Web site.

June 8, 2009