Long Beach, CA – April 4, 2013 – Sixty-seven teams from 22 different schools and organizations in and around Long Beach will compete in the Fourth annual Solar Grand Prix hosted by Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske and the 5th District Sustainability Task Force. More than 400 students, coaches and volunteers will participate on race day. Students grades 6-12 will race solar powered model cars they have designed, powered only by the sun.
This year’s solar car kits were purchased thanks to a generous donation from Honda. Additionally, t-shirts, awards, track materials, lunch and other materials needed for the competition are paid for with donations. Sponsors of the event include: American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, Pacific Pointe at Douglas Park by Sares-Regis Group, The Port of Long Beach, Supervisor Don Knabe, Ameco Solar, AES Alamitos, P2S Engineering, Keesal, Young and Logan, Dr. Mike Walter, Recyclebank, Segue to Solar, Long Beach Police Officers Association, Long Beach Lifeguards Association, Long Beach Firefighters Association, Long Beach City College, and Partners of Parks.
“It’s a great experience for students who work in teams to design their cars and create a completely solar powered racing vehicle,” Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske commented, “It’s an exciting event with real world application of math, science and engineering skills. I hope that these students will be inspired to pursue careers in engineering and science and companies that focus on sustainability.”
The Solar Grand Prix challenges students to work as a team, using their creative thinking and scientific knowledge to experiment, design, and build a high-performance model vehicle. Every team receives a starting kit, which includes a solar panel and electric motor. How they choose to construct a winning racer and what they will add to the basic kit will also be judged in separate categories for design, originality, and more.
On February 9, 2013 each student attended an orientation on event rules, the basics of solar energy, and an introduction to model car design and construction. Additionally, representatives from the CSULA EcoCAR 2 team talked to the students about the developments in automotive engineering and the opportunities available to them in college and in the workforce should they continue to engage with topics such as math, science, engineering and design.
At the orientation, each team received a solar car kit that included a solar panel and a motor. Student teams have been working since then to design a solar car that will be raced at El Dorado Park on April 20. Students are awarded prizes for best design and for speed. A volunteer panel of technical experts will judge the cars and officiate the race. The 20-meter wooden tracks have been constructed by the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters since the competition began in 2010.
The event is expected to attract over 1000 family members, friends, and fans who will gather to watch the cars race on a 20 meter (65 foot) track in a series of head to head elimination rounds, on April 20th at El Dorado Park.
“We couldn’t stage the Solar Grand Prix with out the generous support of out sponsors, volunteers, and the coaches who work with their teams to produce a winning vehicle, “ noted Schipske.