By Floyd Ingram
HOUSTON – For the 14th year in a row the Houston Solar Car Team has gone to Texas and beaten every other high school solar car team in the nation.
Sundancer, the name of the Houston solar vehicle, crossed the Solar Challenge finish line in Austin, Texas, on Thursday afternoon with an unofficial 120-mile lead over its nearest competitor in the four-day hybrid race that saw two days of racing on the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and two days of road racing to Austin.
“The car performed perfectly and did so well,” said Houston Solar Car team captain Kristen Black. “I am so proud of this team. The car was ready, they were ready and we won it all – again.”
Black, a third-year veteran of the Houston School of Science and Technology’s solar car program, said there were no major navigation errors, no glaring safety issues and no major mechanical or electrical problems.
“I worried about me being the captain of the team that broke the streak,” said Black. “But then we started racing, got out front and stayed out front. This feeling of being the best in this race is what solar car is all about.”
Black and the Houston Solar Car Team accepted their 14th Solar Challenge Championship Trophy at a banquet at the University of Texas at Austin on Thursday night.
Twenty-five teams – a competition record – entered this year, racing under a new format called hybrid racing that saw two days of closed circuit racing on the Texas Motor Speedway and two days of road racing from Fort Worth via Waco to Austin.
The team is expected to return to Houston Saturday afternoon.