UMNSVP to Attend Formula Sun Grand Prix

This summer, the University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project will once again make the trek down to Cresson, TX for the 2009 Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP). With its latest car, Centaurus, the team hopes to continue its past success as one of the most competitive teams in solar racing, with a record that includes 10 top-two finishes and a reputation for sound engineering and reliability.

The team that built Centaurus has passed the torch on to a new team of students who, for the past year, have been hard at work designing UMNSVP's next-generation car, in addition to making improvements to Centaurus in preparation for FSGP. In particular, the Electronics team has been dutifully searching out every last bug in the car, leading to redesigned power trackers and battery equalization, as well as better software and better protection against EMI.

The Formula Sun Grand Prix is an annual three-day race held on a closed race track. It was last held in 2005 at the Heartland Park Raceway in Topeka, KS, where UMNSVP car Borealis III came away with a decisive first-place finish. Funding problems prevented the race from being held in 2006-2008, but a renewed interest in the continuation of solar racing has spurred organizers and teams alike to once again participate in this great event.

This year's event will be held at the MotorSport Ranch in Cresson, TX, a self-proclaimed "Country Club for motoring enthusiasts" that features a 1.7-mile road-style course and beautiful facilities for all of the race's needs. Qualifying and inspections for the 2008 North American Solar Challenge were held at this location last year, and the team looks forward to returning.

The team will depart Minneapolis on Saturday, May 30 and arrive in Cresson on May 31. Scrutineering will occur on June 1 and 2, and the race will be on June 3-5, concluding with an awards ceremony on the evening of Friday, June 5.

May 27, 2009