By Floyd Ingram
HOUSTON – Sundancer has literally gone farther and faster than any other solar car team in the country and now it has set sights on the world.
The 2015 solar car team was introduced to the Houston solar car committee last week, which is considering the idea of carrying Sundancer back to Australia for the World Solar Car Challenge. The team also gave a brief report on its 14th consecutive Solar Car Challenge win in Texas last month.
“I knew this car was different, more powerful and faster than anything we had ever carried to Texas, by the second day of racing,” said Houston solar car director Keith Reese. “I think we have a car that can go to Australia and be very competitive in that race.”
Sundancer, the Houston solar car team vehicle, won both the two-day closed circuit race at Texas Motor Speedway and also the road race from Fort Worth to Austin.
“The last day of the race we were way ahead of everyone else and had basically won the race,” said Allyson Taylor, captain of the 2015 Houston solar car team. “On the first day of the road race we pulled up to our lunch stop and we were so early they didn’t even have the food cooked.”
Taylor said Sundancer crossed the finish line hours before its nearest competitor and just pulled into the parking lot and waited.
“When we pulled up to Austin Energy headquarters in Austin we had all these scientists, engineers and employees come out and start looking at the car,” said Taylor. “They started asking all kinds of technical questions and we had answers. They couldn’t believe what we had done with this car.”
But solar car racing is not cheap and Sundancer only gets $3,500 from the Houston School District.
The 2015 team will need to raise more than $100,000 to get to Australia.
The team did get a $10,000 donation from the Columbus VFW last year. The Houston VFW/American Legion was the initial sponsor of solar car and has supported them through the years.
The solar car committee will be looking for local support, but they are also reaching out to state and national organizations to help them pay for the trip.
The Houston Solar Car Team travels to the Grenada Rotary Club this week for a presentation to that community. They will be at the Houston Exchange Club in September. The Solar Team is also contacting Mississippi State University and government officials in Jackson for possible funding sources.