WMU News

Sunseeker battles Wolverines in Lansing streets

Nov. 8, 2003

KALAMAZOO--Fresh from a top-five finish in the American Solar Challenge, Western Michigan University's Sunseeker solar racecar will battle in-state rival the University of Michigan in a Lansing solar race set for 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 15.

Sunseeker will race Michigan's SpectruM in an event staged by the Michigan Energy Office and Michigan State University's Extension Service and held in conjunction with the Super Charged Saturday energy conservation conference that will be held at Lansing's Impression 5 Science Center.

In a race dubbed the Michigan Solar Grand Prix, the two cars will complete five trips around a one-mile loop that begins near the science center, follows Michigan Avenue to Capitol Avenue to Kalamazoo Street and onto Grand Ave., before returning to the starting point along Michigan Ave. The race route will take the racers past the Capitol building.

According Abraham L Poot, the Sunseeker 03 team advisor, says the WMU team is excited about the opportunity to take its car out for another competition. Last summer, Sunseeker completed the 2,300-mile American Solar Challenge from Chicago to Claremont, Calif., finishing in fifth place, WMU's best ever solar race finish. The 2003 event marked the seventh time since 1990 WMU has competed in the biennial race that pits the nation's leading engineering schools against each other. WMU is one of only three universities and the only one in Michigan that has qualified for all seven collegiate solar races.

"We like our chances in this race," Poot says. "All of our team is confident, because we think Sunseeker can out-accelerate any other solar car around."

After the race, both cars will be on display at the conference, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is being billed as "an energy education extravaganza." Exhibit for the event also will include a "kid's solar car." For more information about the event, contact Impression 5's Doug Woodard at (517) 432-7686.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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