Seventeen University of Missouri-Rolla students will again get their kicks — and plenty of sunshine — along old U.S. Route 66 when they compete in the American Solar Challenge, a grueling 2,300-mile trek along the historic "mother road" from Chicago to southern California.
The UMR Solar Car Team, with their new car "Solar Miner IV," will compete in the American Solar Challenge, which begins July 13 in Chicago and ends July 23 in Claremont, Calif.
Its immediate predecessor, the Solar Miner III, took second place behind the University of Michigan in the 2001 American Solar Challenge and placed fourth in Australia’s World Solar Challenge later that same year. The car also set a new distance U.S. track record for solar grand prix racing that still stands today, and was one of three solar cars to race across China as part of a solar car demonstration. In 1999, the UMR team won another national solar car race, Sunrayce ’99.
Solar Miner IV will be one of approximately 40 solar cars to compete in the American Solar Challenge. Most of the vehicles will be designed and built by colleges and universities from throughout the United States and Canada, but a few from private overseas competitors will also compete in the race.
At 2,300 miles, the ASC is the world’s longest solar car race, topping the distances of Australia’s World Solar Challenge (1,882 miles) and Sunrayce ’99 (1,300 miles). The American Solar Challenge follows historic U.S. Route 66, commemorating the 77th anniversary of the legendary highway.
Rolla stopover information
Rolla and UMR will be the first overnight stopover during the ASC. All solar cars will stop at UMR’s Gale Bullman Multi-Purpose Building on Monday, July 14, and will leave Rolla between 8-9 a.m. Tuesday, July 15, to head toward Los Angeles.
Rolla stopover schedule of activities (all activities at the UMR Gale Bullman Multi-Purpose Building, 10th Street and U.S. Highway 63):
Monday, July 14
– 8 a.m. — Finish line officially opens.
– 10 a.m.-noon — First set of vehicles expected to arrive.
– 10 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. — "KidZone" games and activities
– 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. — ice cream served for a small fee (all proceeds go to the UMR Solar Car Team)
– 1 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. — Summer Rally for prospective students, for details contact the admissions office at 1-800-522-0938 (toll free) or (573) 341-4165.
– 5:30 p.m. — Awards ceremony.
– 6 p.m. — Finish line officially closes.
– 9 p.m. — All solar cars impounded for the night.
Tuesday, July 15
– 6 a.m. — Solar car impound ends.
– 8:30 a.m. — Solar cars line up at starting line.
– 9 a.m. — Solar cars depart at 1-minute intervals.