Solar car competition for high school students in Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/19/10

Solar car competition for high school students in Lubbock

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - High school teams from across the nation drove through Lubbock Monday in solar powered cars. It was all part of an 800 mile race from Dallas, Texas to Boulder, Colorado.  They stopped for lunch at Texas Tech where they met some of the Red Raiders' solar racing team.

Jordan Littlejohn raced with Dr. Lehman Marks' group in 2008. Now he's the president of Tech's team. "Dr. Marks gave a very inspiring speech at the end of the 2008 race which really motivated me to come here and start a team of my own, because Texas Tech didn't have one," Littlejohn said.

Tech's team already has plans for their first car, but they're more than $100 thousand dollars short. Littlejohn hopes money can be raised through sponsorships so they can start working on the car by the end of the year.

The Hunt Winston School Solar Car Challenge consists of 12 teams competing to rack up the most miles under the power of the sun. Teams took off from Snyder, spent the afternoon in Lubbock, and will travel to Amarillo on Tuesday.

Reagan Byrne drove the car from Post to Slaton for Houston, Mississippi's girl's team. She told KCBD NewsChannel 11 that it feels different to be riding low to the ground and even tougher to manage other road distractions.

"I had a whole bunch of honks and people sticking their head out the window trying to take pictures and everything. Then they fly past you and it scares you because I'm goin 25 and they're going about 70," said Byrne.

Students had to go through various tests and obtain an experimental vehicle license. Colin Hill is one of the judges this year after being a former racer. He says the goal is to get students interested in engineering and problem-solving in a way that services the future.

"It's to promote this technology. Really the cars that you see here are a by-product of this race, we're making tomorrow with these kids. They're learning how to make this technology work," Hill said.

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