Plano Green Team to compete in Solar Car Challenge

Photography provided by the Plano Green Team
The Plano Green Team is gearing up to compete in the Solar Car Challenge at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

The Plano Green Team is gearing up to compete in the Solar Car Challenge at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race will take place July 14-17.

Thirty-two high school teams across America, sixteen of which are from Texas, will compete in the race this year. They will race around the Texas Motor Speedway to see which car can travel the farthest distance off solar power.

The Solar Car Challenge is a nonprofit founded in 1993 by teacher Dr. Lehman Marks. The challenge is designed to help and educate STEM-focused students.

Photography courtesy of the Solar Car Challenge

“Students who take part in the Solar Car Challenge have a 23% greater chance of going into a STEM career than students participating in other STEM programs. This is the top project-based STEM program in the country,” Marks said. “We teach the kids how to build a plan, come up with a budget, fundraise, how to engineer the car and manage the project, all while they’re learning about how to harness energy from the sun to make a car go down the road.”

Students must design, engineer, and build the car as a team before the race. More than 65,000 students have participated throughout the program’s history.

“This is the brain sport,” Marks said. “It’s not just about building the car, but how to drive that car, solve the inevitable problems that happen with the car, and keeping your team intact through four grueling days of racing. Doing the Solar Car Challenge makes these students better equipped to face the challenges they’ll have in life.”

The Plano Green Team established itself in 2014. They entered their first race in 2016, a cross-country race from Texas to Minnesota, where they won their division. Since then, the group has competed in several other cross-country and Texas Motor Speedway races.

Students from the Plano Green Team have gone on to study at The University of Texas at Austin, the University of Michigan, Purdue University, the University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon University and Rice University among others.

“We did not have enough resources to participate in last year’s cross-country race from Texas to California,” the team said on their website. “but the team is excited about participating in this year’s race using the lessons it learned (the hard way) from 2021 and 2022.”

The officers of the group all attend Liberty High School. The officers include Dhwani (captain), Jai (safety officer), Matthew (mechanical lead), Shiv (electrical lead) and Sumegh (engagement officer). This group along with other members will race their solar-powered car in July.

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