Thanks to all the teams, sponsors, observers, and event staff that made this summer’s collegiate level American Solar Challenge (ASC) and Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP) solar car racing possible. 20 teams showed up to this event with a car, including a number of international and first-year teams. This is a higher number of participants than in recent years, which is promising for the future of solar car racing in America. See here for the full race results and more event information.
Of the 20 teams that showed up, 17 of them were eventually able to pass the rigorous Scrutineering inspections and get onto the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) track for the FSGP qualifier race powered by Austin Energy. The track event proved particularly challenging this year due to heavy cloud cover, the steep hill up to turn one, and a battery fire that delayed the final day of racing. For the second year in a row, Iowa State set the fast lap around the COTA track and this year was slightly faster than last with an average speed of 44.8mph. Congratulations to the following teams who ranked in the top three positions based on total number of official laps over the 3 day FSGP qualifier race.
FSGP 2014 Top 3 Positions
- 1st: University of Michigan – 174 laps (596 mi)
- 2nd: Oregon State – 124 laps (425 mi)
- 3rd: University of Minnesota & Western Michigan University Tie – 110 laps (377 mi)
Only 4 registered teams met the official lap qualification requirements for ASC, including the University of Michigan, Oregon State, Iowa State, and QIAU HAVIN from Iran. 6 other teams were granted provisional qualification such that 10 teams were allowed to start the American Solar Challenge. One of these teams chose to withdraw before the start of the cross-country ASC start line. Another team was not able to meet their provisional qualification requirement and had to withdraw before the start of the 3rd day. This left us with just 8 teams finishing the 1700+ mile race from Austin, TX to Minneapolis, MN. These 8 teams clearly demonstrated that their solar vehicles are capable of traveling long distances across varied road, traffic, and weather conditions. The top 6 teams completed the full event on solar energy without ever having to trailer their vehicle. This was no simple feat given the number of cloudy days. The University of Michigan soared to its 5th consecutive victory in the American Solar Challenge. They also were the first team to arrive at every checkpoint and stage stop throughout the race! Congratulations to the top thee ASC teams.
ASC 2014 Top 3 Positions
- 1st: University of Michigan – 41:27:29 (hh:mm:ss elapsed)
- 2nd: University of Minnesota – 45:19:09 (hh:mm:ss elapsed)
- 3rd: Iowa State University – 50:18:46 (hh:mm:ss elapsed)
Photos from the event can be viewed on Flickr at the links below.