The Solar Car Challenge made its Day 1 stop in the Ardmore Convention Center Sunday. The event sponsored by Michelin, features 400 students from across the nation in a competitive blend of technology, engineering, innovation and teamwork. Teams built solar powered cars that race from Fort Worth to Minneapolis, Minnesota, from July 17-23. The stop in Ardmore was the first leg of the race. The Noble Stadium parking lot was used as an overnight sitting site for the vehicles and participants to charge batteries and perform any maintenance needed. 

Teams that participate are challenged with potentially harsh weather, breakdowns, closed roads and other factors that can affect how far the team travels in a day. The team that accumulates the most miles during the challenge is declared the winner, according to the challenge’s website. 

The competition is designed to expand students’ abilities with Science, engineering, advancements in technology and team building. Students had the opportunity at the event to speak with experts about their designs and the different aspects of solar cars. 

“We had a very busy Meet the Expert table,” said Maia Day, site communications manager. “The students really enjoyed asking our tire designers and engineers questions about rolling resistance, as well as teach them a thing or two about solar cars.”  

Students can enter four different divisions, the Classic Division, the Veteran Classic Division, the Advanced Division and the Electric Solar Powered Division, with each division having its own stipulations and rules. 

The students asked detailed questions about the cars and their designs and demonstrated their understanding of the vehicles. Michelin Ardmore Tire Designer Chris Trammel said the students showed a strong understanding of the solar cars. 

“The students asked specific questions about sculpture, safety and design, which I wasn’t expecting,” he said.  “They showed their engineering talents and it would be awesome to see some of them as future Michelin employees.” 

Currently, 21 teams are competing in the challenge, with Shine Runners winning the furtherest distance traveled in the Classic Division, Bryon Nelson Bobcats Solar Racing Team winning the furtherest in the Veteran Classic Division, Houston Solar Race Team traveling the furtherest in the Advanced Division and Volt Tech traveling the furtherest in the Electric-Solar Powered Division, according to results for the first leg on solarcarchallenge.org. 

The race continued from Ardmore to Ponca City on Monday and will continue north to Minneapolis. 

The Noble Stadium parking lot was used as an overnight sitting site for the vehicles and participants to charge batteries and perform any maintenance needed.