The UMR Solar Car Team cruised into Claremont, Calif., on July 23 to capture the 2003 American Solar Challenge — the national championship of solar car racing.
UMR’s "Solar Miner IV" crossed the finish line at 1:39 p.m. CDT (11:39 a.m. PDT), finishing in first place. The team completed the race nearly five hours ahead of the University of Minnesota, the second place team.
The American Solar Challenge is a 2,300-mile solar car race from Chicago to Los Angeles.
The UMR Solar Car Team has now won two of the past three biennial solar car races in the United States, and finished second in the other. In June 1999, UMR won Sunrayce ’99, a 1,200-mile race from Washington, D.C., to Orlando, Fla., and finished second behind the University of Michigan in the 2001 American Solar Challenge.
The UMR team began in the third position for this year’s race, which began July 13 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. The 2,300 mile trek traced old U.S. Route 66.
The UMR team’s solar-powered vehicle was one of 20 solar cars to compete in the American Solar Challenge. The vehicles were designed and built by colleges and universities from throughout the United States and Canada.
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 and UMR was the first overnight stopover during the ASC. All solar cars stopped at UMR’s Gale Bullman Multi-Purpose Building on
Monday, July 14, and left Rolla at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 15, to head toward Los Angeles.
A homecoming celebration for the UMR team is planned from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, July 28. The Solar Miner IV will cruise down Pine Street in downtown Rolla. Spectators and fans are encouraged to line the streets and cheer the team on as they pass.
The car will stop at the pavilion on the corner of Eighth and Oak streets to give supporters from the community an opportunity to visit with members of the UMR Solar Car Team and to view Solar Miner IV.
Daily Standings for all teams in the race.
A map of the route, from Chicago to L.A. along the Mother Road, U.S. Route 66.
American Solar Challenge image archive