CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., June 21, 1999 -- After yesterday's completion of the first day of racing in the nation's premier solar-powered vehicle competition, New Mexico Tech's Corona has moved up a few positions in the intercollegiate field.
Despite unseasonably cold and rainy weather along the nation's East Coast, neither the starting ceremonies in Washington, D.C. nor the performance of the 29 solar-powered racers competing in Sunrayce 99 were dampened.
New Mexico Tech moved up three slots from its 29th starting position to finish at 26th at the end of the 115-mile-long first leg of the ten-day road rally which showcases the imagination, ingenuity, and teamwork of students from universities across North America.
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's Solar Phantom V crossed the finish line first yesterday with a time of 3 hours, 18 minutes and 58 seconds and an average speed of nearly 35 miles per hour.
New Mexico Tech's Corona didn't cross the finish line under its own photo-voltaic supplied power: It had to be brought in to Charlottesville on a trailer for the last few miles of the first leg.
Yet, despite being assessed over one hour's time in penalties for not finishing the leg and other minor infractions in yesterday's competition, New Mexico Tech did manage to best solar vehicles from Purdue University, the U. S. Military Academy, and the University of Virginia.
From June 20 through 29, teams from throughout North America, including New Mexico Tech, are racing through five states, from Washington, D. C., to a finish at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla. The team with the lowest cumulative time over the 10-day road rally wins the event.
The top three finishing teams will receive trophies and cash awards. Scholastic achievement awards will also be granted for technical innovation, engineering excellence, artistic talents, teamwork, and good sportsmanship.
The biennial solar-car race was created by General Motors and the U. S. Department of Energy in 1990 to promote educational excellence in mathematics, science, and engineering by offering students a unique and highly valuable "hands-on" educational opportunity. Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS) joined GM and the DOE as a co-sponsor of the event in 1993.