UK engineering school’s Solar Car Team places 7th in national race

UK Solar Car Team at the Formula Sun Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
UK Solar Car Team at the Formula Sun Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 17, 2017) The University of Kentucky Solar Car Team, a student-led organization in the College of Engineering, recently placed 7th at the Formula Sun Grand Prix, a national track-style race.

“To see the team persevere through all of the challenges we faced with both getting to the race and during the race itself was very satisfying,” said Monon Rahman, a mechanical engineering junior and member of the Solar Car Team. “Every second counted during the race, and the team worked as hard as they could to keep our car on the track.”

The Formula Sun Grand Prix, held at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, July 3-8, brought together 18 college teams competing in a challenge to design, build and race solar-powered cars.

The week began with scrutineering, the technical inspection process that occurs before racing. The UK team of 18 students won the “fastest braking” award for how quickly they passed the brake inspection.

Gato del Sol V, the current UK solar car, has been racing since 2014. This race marked its best finish at the Formula Sun Grand Prix and its last run.
Gato del Sol V, the current UK solar car, has been racing since 2014. This race marked its best finish at the Formula Sun Grand Prix and its last run.

Following scrutineering, the solar cars hit the track to see who could drive as many laps as possible in the given timeframe. UK completed 80 laps over the course of three days with its fastest lap clocking in at 4 minutes and 34 seconds, finishing 7th out of 18 teams. CalSol, the University of California, Berkeley’s solar car team, came in first.

Gato del Sol V, the current UK solar car, has been racing since 2014. This race marked its best finish at the Formula Sun Grand Prix and its last run.

“We are now set to start the construction of our next vehicle, Gato del Sol VI,” Rahman said. “We are looking to take that car to next year’s Formula Sun Grand Prix as well as next year’s American Solar Challenge.

Gato del Sol VI will feature a smaller solar panel array, four wheels (compared to three in the current car), and other various upgrades to mechanical and electrical systems.

“We cannot wait to see what we can do next year with our next car!” Rahman said.

To get updates from the UK Solar Car Team, follow @uksolarcar on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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