Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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Students use solar power for ‘Sun Grand Prix’ at COTA track

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TWC News: Students use solar power for ‘Sun Grand Prix’ at COTA track
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Friday broke a new record for heat, which means it was one of the best days for solar racing at the Circuit of the Americas track.

The event is called the ‘Formula Sun Grand Prix.’ The cars are made by college students from 11 universities who are putting their young engineering skills to the test.

"If we had another month and another $10,000 it would probably look slick, but we had neither of those things and so we use duct tape,” Raul Molina with the University of Texas Solar Team said.

The students design, build and raise funds for their teams, just like they would in the business world.

"There is a reason that the company is having you look at this and it's to make a profit for the company and not for you to test out your cool little widget," race organizer Gail Lueck said.

Joel Thongson with Western Michigan University had to combine his book knowledge with a little elbow grease to get the job done.

"This really applies to what most of us are going to do in our jobs so it is really great real world experience," he said.

The solar cars can reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour, but they were only hitting about 35 on Friday. The race continues Saturday at the track from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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