WMU places fifth at Formula Sun Grand Prix


The Western Michigan University Sunseeker came in fifth at the Formula Sun Grand Prix. Image via wmich.edu

After three days of racing through scorching Texas heat, Western Michigan University’s Sunseeker was only a few sunbeams away from taking first in this year’s Formula Sun Grand Prix.

The annual solar car race did not end with a victorious Bronco team, however. The merciless temperatures of Austin, Texas, where the race was held, overheated the solar-powered car’s batteries. Sunseeker, which had been in first place for several hours, finished fifth.

The thermometers recorded some of the hottest temperatures in the Lone Star State this year, with the surface temperature of the 3.4-mile, grand prix-style track closing in on 140 degrees.

Oregon State University finished first, followed by Illinois State and Iowa State. WMU logged a total of 620 miles from June 24-29, competing against 12 other universities from across the United States and Canada.

“The team is still proud of what we managed to do, and we all know that had we been able to keep running, we probably would have taken first,” said Joshua Allen, Sunseeker project manager. “Lessons have been learned, friends were made, and I think we have definitely set ourselves up to be a team to compete with in the future.”

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