There are many different designs and most are very interesting. The ride height on this model from the University of Waterloo seems a bit high, but the fairings were actually designed to add propulsion from the wind!

It's a little different view while sitting at a red light and you look over and there is a solar-powered race car in the lane next to you!

The Messiah College #9 climbs one of the hills of north Georgia as it heads towards Atlanta at the end of Day 5.

I had been at the Panoz Racing School at Road Atlanta and was on my home from the track when I spotted this car.

When they pulled off to the side of the road to 'sun' the car, I stopped to take a photo. I was reprimanded because I got too close and my shadow was on the car. The testy crew quickly advised me of my transgression!

Sometimes, it is necessary to pull the cars to the side of the road and sun them to recharge the batteries. To the left, the driver watches the recharge meter as the crew tilts the solar array for the optimal charging position.

Drivers end up soaking wet sometimes due to the heat and the spray of water that the crew puts onto the array whenever they get a chance and from the heat of the small enclosed cockpit.

Another similarity of solar car racing and sports car racing are trailers and sponsors. Here, the Iowa State University team displays sponsors that many sports car racers would drool over... Boeing, Rockwell, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Gateway, Motorola, Ames Laboratory, Amoco and many others.
Recharge day on the top of the parking garage as the cars 'sun' themselves and recharge.
The University of Michigan car sits at a traffic light. This car has Ford and IBM as sponsors. This is the car that was next to us in a previous photo.

The cars are equipped with tail lights, brake lights and a horn. They also have license plates, though they are usually inside the car.

Here are website links for the Sunrayce and related series:

Official Sunrayce Website

Junior Solar Sprint

Renewable Energy

Sunrayce 99


BellSouth Headquarters and the NationsBank Building, the tallest building south of New York City, are in the background of where the crews camped during Recharge Day.

The high tech light-weight frames are well wired. In this car, there are a series of fuses located in its tail. Note the box aluminum suspension.
The #101 of Ecole de Technologie Superieure while sunning.
It was quite a pleasure to be able to experience and cover Sunrayce 99 while the teams were in Atlanta. I have been covering international sports car and endurance racing via the web for several years. The 24 Hours of Le Mans had just completed and covered 2,957 miles in that one day period. That is the top endurance event in the world. But here, in our own backyard was another endurance race being run with high tech cars. In this event, the teams will cover 1,300 miles and do so in five days, and they are pioneers in the burgeoning field of renewable energy-powered cars. I saw history in the making and appreciated what I saw.

20 years ago, I was almost killed in an accident testing a prototype wind-powered generator in the deserts of Arizona while working on the Roden Crater art project. This prototype had blades designed by a little known (at the time) aircraft engineer, Bert Rutan, who has now achieved fame as an aeronautical engineer. I studied passive solar design while living in Sedona, Arizona and visited the solar homes of New Mexico and the solar test facility at Sandia Labs doing research for building my own solar home. That was a long time ago and it was refreshing seeing the effort that the universities of America are putting into designing vehicles that may find a needed place in our future. It was great seeing these young minds work together as teams to get their prototypes from point A in Washington, DC to point B in Orlando, Florida.

And for the sports car racing world, I see a real match between sports car endurance racing and this new form of endurance racing. I can hear the chuckles on both sides, but I think that time will see these two camps blending somehow.

Earl Cook

Cyber Motorsports

July 1999

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Cyber Motorsports