Circuit of The Americas recently announced that it will host the Formula Sun Grand Prix on June 24-29, 2013, at its new world-class destination for premier motorsport, entertainment and special events. This is the first time the Formula Sun Grand Prix event will be hosted at an official Formula 1™ racetrack.
The University of Texas at Austin Solar Vehicles Team (UTSVT) will serve as the local university host for the event and will organize a variety of activities for the participating teams. UTSVT is a volunteer, student-run organization committed to developing solar electric vehicles and representing The University of Texas at Austin in international solar car competitions. The team is comprised of approximately 50 members, most of whom are undergraduate engineering students.
“The Cockrell School is excited to partner with the Formula Sun Grand Prix,” Gregory L. Fenves, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austin said. “This race will engage science and engineering students across the nation in solar energy technology, and it is an opportunity for our engineering students on the solar vehicles team to showcase their expertise with new technologies and problem-solving skills.”
The Formula Sun Grand Prix is an annual collegiate solar car track event. Before arriving at the host track, teams design and build a solar-powered vehicle in accordance with the event regulations. Upon arrival, all solar cars go through an inspection process known as scrutineering. These inspections focus on safety checks, adherence to the regulations and cover all aspects of the car, including mechanical, electrical, body and sizing, and dynamic testing. Only teams that successfully pass all inspections are permitted to compete in a three-day track endurance race.
During the race, teams aim to complete as many laps as possible during the designated driving hours each day. Energy management is important as teams have limited solar charging time in the morning and evening each day. After three days of on-track competition, the team logging the most laps is declared the winner.
All of the Grand Prix’s solar car events are free and open to the public. The Grand Prix also welcomes students from all universities to participate in this multidisciplinary learning experience.
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