Solar Gators Compete in Formula Sun Grand Prix

A team of ECE and MAE students have traveled to Topeka, Kansas to compete in the 2022 Formula Sun Grand Prix hosted at the Heartland Motorsports Park. Competing against 21 teams from schools across the U.S. and Canada, Team Solar Gators and their car, Sunrider, aim to win the competition while pushing the boundaries of sustainable transportation.

The competition features three days of racing on the 2.5 mile road course. Solar cars drive for 8 hours per day and are allowed additional solar charging time in the morning and evening. The event also serves as a qualifier for the subsequent American Solar Challenge. Vehicles must complete 82 laps in a single day or 124 laps in two consecutive days and drivers must complete 22 laps to qualify.

Team Solar Gators with President Kent Fuchs

Sunrider has been in development for three years. While the car was originally intended to compete last summer, it was ultimately sidelined due to COVID-related manufacturing delays. The team has been working feverishly all summer long have the car ready to compete. Using the experience gleaned from past designs, Sunrider features completely new mechanical, areo-body, and electrical designs. Some highlights include: a brand-new monohull-style areo-body, 3D printed titanium uprights, and a full sensor suite that allows for live wireless data transmission from the car. After countless hours and many late nights, Sunrider was unveiled on June 27 at an event attended by President Kent Fuchs.

Stay tuned to ECE social media for updates on Solar Gators’ progress.