American Solar Challenge Race Begins July 15

July 08, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

As many as 35 race cars will leave Chicago on July 15, 2001, in the first-ever attempt to travel the entire historic Route 66 without any gasoline. The cars are part of the American Solar Challenge, an educational sporting event in which university teams, companies and clubs from around the world compete to build and race solar-powered cars across the country. The race will begin at the Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago, IL) and follow Route 66 through Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. The 2,300-mile journey will end in Claremont, CA, on July 25.

The race cars can be tracked on the Internet through use of a global positioning satellite system that will pinpoint the location of participating cars. Daily race results will also be posted. The car with the fastest cumulative time from Chicago to Claremont will win the Challenge.

"The race challenges young engineers and scientists to find new ways to solve energy and transportation problems. Participants get excellent practical education through building their own cars and completing the race." said Dan Eberle, director of the race.

The race is sponsored by the Department of Energy, its National Renewable Energy Laboratory, EDS and Terion Inc.