Among solar race teams, OSU shines brightest

OSU's solar vehicle, called the Phoenix, drove 661 miles fueled only by the sun's rays.

OSU's solar vehicle, called the Phoenix, drove 661 miles fueled only by the sun's rays.

Oregon State University's solar engineers have scored a huge victory at an Austin, Texas solar vehicle race.

OSU's solar vehicle team captured the 2013 Formula Sun Grand Prix competition by completing 193 laps, or 661 miles, at the Circuit of the Americas raceway. The event featured vehicles powered by the sun.

OSU competed against 10 other teams in its "Phoenix" vehicle.

Actually, "competed" may be an overstatement. Each team actually worked, in a "cooperative racing format," with contributors from other schools "in the interest of helping every participant do as well as possible," an OSU release notes.

OSU, for instance, experienced trouble with its motor and borrowed a spare from Missouri University of Science and Technology. When that motor experienced problems, OSU borrowed another one from Northwestern University.

OSU, in turn helped other participants create and install solar modules, repair brake systems and identify battery issues. The school's team captured the event's sportsmanship award for its work.

The three-day event featured 24 hours of racing time.

Illinois State was second, completing 192 laps while Iowa State University finished 191 laps.

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