Representatives from the University of Missouri-Rolla Solar Car Team say they will participate in a North American solar car race in the summer of 2008.
UMR students Tim Robillard and Kerry Poppa were among the solar racers who attended a recent planning conference in Topeka, Kan. According to Robillard, UMR’s team president, teams from about 20 universities in the United States and Canada agreed at the conference to move ahead with plans for a 2008 race.
At this time, the U.S. Department of Energy is not involved in organizing the race, says Robillard, a senior in electrical and computer engineering from Wilmington, Mass. But the participating teams intend to seek sponsorships and are currently in the process of drawing up new rules and regulations.
“The driver will be required to be more upright and we want to reduce the size of the arrays for teams with ultra-powerful cells to add more strategy to the race,” says Poppa, a senior in interdisciplinary engineering from Maryville, Mo.
The UMR team has already started the process of designing Solar Miner VI for the 2008 race.
Robillard and Poppa say the race will likely be similar to the 2005 North American Solar Challenge, which covered approximately 2,500 miles from Austin, Texas, to Calgary, Alberta. UMR finished fourth in the 2005 race.
UMR finished first in a 2003 race from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Robillard and Poppa both plan to go to graduate school and want to continue to be involved with solar car racing through 2008.