photo credit: Jamie Tourtillott
Sunlight to success
Solar Car team builds new car
March 5, 2018
As the school year runs on, the solar car team has another chance to brighten their futures at the National Solar Car Challenge race taking place July 17. The team is currently building another car from scratch with aluminum rather than mild steel that was used with last year’s car.
Last year’s car took fourth place in the track race at Texas Motor Speedway. The team only had five members last year. This year, the team has grown by adding six more members for the cross country race to San Jose, Calif., taking place this summer. The students will drive the car through the states, all the way to California.
“I’m looking forward to driving and racing the car this year,” junior co captain Jaxson Hill said. “It may seem boring to drive the car in the middle of nowhere for hours at a time, but I’m looking forward to taking in the landscape and just driving. I’m also looking forward to the whole process of actually making the car.”
The team gets together every Thursday during school and whenever the students are free during the week to work on the car. The team also meets Saturdays to take last year’s car out to different locations, such as Meteor Burger and Big Daddy’s BBQ to fundraise.
“We have raised about $5,500. We had about $3,200 from a previous budget and we used about $3,000 to buy parts for the car. So we have to raise about $15,000 so we have a little ways to go,” solar car adviser Tony Roseberry said.
After attending a workshop for the solar car challenge, the team decided to use a different and lighter metal for this year’s car. At the meet, the team was able to show its current car and get a donation from the Solar Car Challenge to put towards the team’s fundraising money.
“When showing the car off to the other teams, I felt proud of what I built,” senior captain Blake Feece said. “We made a lot of improvements this year and I’m excited to see what the other teams think of our new car.”
Although the team is only allowed a select few members to take on race day, students are still encouraged to join the solar car team and help piece together an award-winning vehicle.
“I generally take students who show interest and come down and participate and help build the car on race day,” Mr. Roseberry said. “I also try and limit it to about 10 [students] for the event.”
Since coming so close to winning last year, placing fourth in the nation, the Wylie East solar car team is preparing to do even better this year. The team is finishing up their car so it’s ready to pass scrutineering July 16 and be ready for the cross country race.