Hunt-Winston School Solar Car Challenge
High School Students Race Solar Cars From Fort Worth
The high school students in the Hunt-Winston School Solar Car Challenge
might be young, but they're ahead of the curve in terms of commuter
technology. Thirteen teams entered the challenge, driving 800 miles from
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, to Boulder, Colorado.
In the end, an all-female group of students from Houston High School in
Mississippi won the "classic" car division, while a team from Choctaw
Central High School in Mississippi took the "advanced" title.
At an average speed of 35 miles per hour, the cars weren't precisely
lightning fast, but they are road-legal. Race strategy relies more on
reliability and consistency than high speeds or tight cornering.
Like a regular road rally, the race was done in stages and stopped each
night. The solar vehicles were accompanied by conventional escorts.
However, some of the cars have top speeds like those of regular
gasoline-powered cars - the Sundancer II of Houston High School can
reportedly hit 100 mph.
The race ended on a field at the University of Colorado at Boulder, which
actually put in its own solar installation at the end of last year. The
array was designed and built by Bella Energy, a Louisville, Colorado solar
installer, and used SunTech photovoltaic panels.
The Sundancer from Houston High School took home the championship in the
open division for the 10th' year in a row.
The Sundancer II, a team made up of only female students from Houston High
School, took first place in the classic car division.
The Tushka Hashi III was the entry of Choctaw Central High School, and they
claimed first place in the advanced division.
The History of the Hunt-Winston School Solar Car Challenge
In 1993, the Winston Solar Car Team launched an education program to provide
curriculum materials, on-site visits, and workshop opportunities for high
schools across the country. This program, a part of The Winston School (Dallas,
TX), was designed to motivate students in the sciences, engineering, and
technology. The end product of each two-year education cycle is the Winston
Solar Challenge: a closed-track event at the Texas Motor Speedway, or a cross
country race designed to give students an opportunity to display their work. The
Winston Solar Education Program has been shared with more than 900 schools in 20
The first Challenge in 1995 attracted ninety schools leading to nine schools
actually building cars for the 1995 race. Three cars qualified to run. The 1997
Challenge grew to over three hundred fifty schools in five countries. Eight cars
qualified to run the 1997 race, a 600-mile cross-country event from Dallas to
San Antonio. The 1999 race, a 1600 mile event from Dallas to Los Angeles, saw
eight teams enjoy the fun of high school solar car racing. The 2001 race started
in Round Rock, TX at Dell Computers and traveled 1400 miles to Columbus,
Indiana. In 2003, ten challengers endeavored to race from Round Rock, TX to the
Florida Solar Energy Center (Cocoa, FL).
In 2009, the Hunt Oil Company accepted the role as "Title Sponsor" for the
Winston Solar Challenge. The Hunt-Winston School Solar Car Challenge now hosts
annual events based on the support of the Hunt Oil Company, The Winston School,
The Texas State Energy Conservation Office, and the Texas Motor Speedway.
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