University of Minnesota Selected as Sunrayce 95 Participant

The University of Minnesota was selected as one of thirty North American college and university teams to participate in Sunrayce 95, a 1000-miles biennial solar car race sponsored by the Department of Energy(DOE). The race will be run in June 1995 on a course from Indianapolis, Indiana to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In the last Sunrayce, Sunrayce 93, the team placed 21st out of 34 teams that participated, and won first place in the "Design Excellence in Engineering Safety". "It was a fantastic program", says mechanical engineering Professor Virgil Marple, who, along with mechanical engineering Professor Patrick Starr, served as a team advisor. "Taking first place in Design Excellence in Engineering Safety was a very prestigious award for them to win, especially for the first entry from IT."

"The team effort that resulted from the race was good to see," says University President Nils Hasselmo. "With results from the Sunrayce 93 race effort, the University of Minnesota is committed to becoming a biennial participant in the Sunrayce program" says Starr.

In order to be selected as a participant in Sunrayce 95, university teams were asked to describe in a 20 page proposal how they would raise funds, select their vehicle concept, undertake business and engineering tasks, integrate the vehicle's tasks into university programs and classes to maximize student learning, obtain components and build the vehicle, perform reliability and durability testing, selection and train drivers, and plan the logistics for a seven-day race. "The level of competition to become one of these thirty teams is very tough" says Starr, "as their are over 50 schools in North America that have been participants in this program." "Not undaunted by this task, the University team submitted a proposal to Sunrayce that is through in what is currently being done to participate in Sunrayce 95. Some schools are waiting for Sunrayce's final decision in who will make up the 30 teams before becoming committed to the program." says Starr.

Marple expects IT's entry in Sunrayce 95 to fare even better, thanks to lessons learned from its maiden voyage into the Sunrayce program. "The Sunrayce 93 team has already begun to pass along the knowledge they gained to the students who will comprise the team for 1995," he says. "They will have a vehicle for testing, and they can test various components that they now know will define a winning vehicle."