Formula Sun is upon us!

Packing has begun, testing and final construction are underway.

Please stay tuned to the updates page throughout the following week (May 11-17th) for fresh updates from the Formula Sun Grand Prix.


Finish competitively, use the latest innovations, and team work are the new goals set forth by the University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project. The strategies used to achieve these goals are building a reliable and race-able car that is able to manage power efficiently. Improvements will be made over the last car while outsourcing will be kept to a minimum.

The University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project has been competitively racing solar vehicles for over ten years. University undergraduate students design, build, test, and race a new vehicle every two years. The project is composed mainly of, but not exclusively, engineering students from different fields. The Solar Vehicle Project gives students the opportunity to learn skills not offered in a classroom setting. The project brings publicity to both the University of Minnesota and sponsoring companies. It also brings awareness of alternative energies as well as contributing to the local community. A continuing goal of the Solar Vehicle Project is to give students meaningful, hands on experience while learning about teamwork and organization. To accomplish this, much of the components used in the car are designed and created by students. Most of the funding is derived from private organizations in the form of products or money contributions. The donated products are used directly into building solar car components and the cash donations are used to either obtain other products or maintain the logistical component for a competitive, traveling racing team. Funding is necessary in order to continue the benefits Solar Vehicle Project offers the students, the University, the scientific community, and the local community.

Formula Sun 2004, May 17-21

Formula Sun is an annual race held at Heartland Track in Topeka, Kansas. Schools from across the nation come to race their solar vehicles for three days on a 2.1 mile race track. This year, the Solar Vehicle Project is bringing a record number of participants, 29, to Formula Sun to defend last year’s first place finish. The first two days are reserved for teams to be scrutinized mechanically, electrically, aerodynamically, as well as other pre-qualifying tasks. After teams pass all the qualifying requirements they may enter the race on Wednesday, May 19. Poll positioning is determined by the car’s quarter-mile time with the fastest time having the first poll position. Each race day begins at sun up and concludes at 4pm. Throughout the duration of the race, teams will dedicate nearly every moment of their time to their solar car; sleep is considered a luxury. On Friday, May 21 the race concludes with some friendly team competitions such as the iron man and tire change competition. After the races final conclusion, the team celebrates their accomplishment with a dinner at one of the local Topeka restaurants and a good night's sleep.

The University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project is an intensive two-year program that challenges students and rewards their hard work with a tangible product, a Solar Car. Members of the Solar Vehicle Project learn skills that are not offered in the classroom, but are very important skills for industry. Many of the skills apply to their engineering field, but lessons in teamwork, dedication, time management, and community service are also experienced. The University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project is on track to be a very competitive team once again, please help support a winning team.

--Sanzen Yang
Electrical Engineering Student and University of Minnesota Team Member for 3 Years Running

Contact the Team Leader Trevre Andrews for more information

May 13, 2003