Solar Car Challenge Postponed

Good Morning Solar Car Teams,

As we began this year’s Solar Car Challenge education cycle back in September, I am sure that none of us could have foreseen the world-changing events associated with the Coronavirus Pandemic. The world has dramatically changed over the last few months.

I asked for and received huge feedback from my earlier email addressing the Coronavirus issue. The vast majority of these responses tell me that schools are closed and teams are locked-out of their solar car projects. Even if schools were to open in May, most teams tell me that they would not be prepared to race due to difficulties with sponsor funding, and that their solar cars were not complete.

I explored the Health Issue with some of the best Virologists and Epidemiologists in the DFW area. No one can tell me what the level of virus infection rate will be this summer. At this point in time, we cannot say that the Racing Event would be safe for students, teachers, judges, interns, and families.

For these two reasons, we are postponing the 2020 Solar Car Challenge to 2021. The 2021 Race will be a closed-track race at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Here are some special provisions:

(1) All the teams registered for the 2020 race will automatically be registered for the 2021 Racing Event. Team registration fees will be carried forward to 2021. In effect, you have already registered for the 2021 event, although we will ask you to send a new registration document reflecting changes in team membership, and equipment updates.

[2021 Solar Car Challenge - July 16-23 with Team Check-In July 15th]

(2) Teams with graduating seniors will be allowed to invite those seniors to come back and participate in the 2021 race as a part of their team. This is a one-time privilege so that all teams members who worked on the solar car will have an opportunity to race.

(3) We are inviting teams to prepare an 8-minute video showing their planned Oral Presentation. This is the presentation that would have been made at the Race on Saturday/Sunday, July 18th/19th and would meet the guidelines set out in the Event Update No. 2020-1. Videos must be emailed no later than July 18th to video@solarcarchallenge.org Prizes would be announced by the end of July.

Teams would not accrue laps for the 2020 race, but videos will be judged and prizes awarded in each Racing Division. This accomplishes two goals:

  • Teams will be able to show school administration and sponsors that they had a plan for the 2020 Race and were working for a successful completion for their solar car project. This will be crucial for continued sponsor funding.
  • Teams will be rewarded for their hard work by receiving recognition in the Oral Presentation portion of the Solar Car Challenge Project.

(4) Students who received an Internship in the 2020 Solar Car Challenge would automatically receive an Internship in the 2021 Solar Car Challenge.

I know this decision greatly disappoints all of us, but it is the responsible decision to help keep you safe. The Solar Car Challenge will be launching a new plan with vigorous webcasts and new online solar car learning opportunities. Together, we can all get through this successfully and continue the great learning opportunities associated with the Solar Car Challenge Education Program.

Best regards,
Dr. Lehman Marks
Solar Car Challenge Foundation