Hundreds of Local Students Turn Out For Fourth Annual Solar Grand Prix Race Orientation

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solar-grand-prix-orientatioThe annual Long Beach competition which challenges students to work as a team, using their creative thinking and scientific knowledge to experiment, design, and build a high-performance model vehicle, kicked off on Saturday, February 9th with an orientation in a packed Liberal Arts Campus Auditorium.

Councilwoman , Fourth District Sustainability Task Force and Solar Grand Prix organizer Jaime Guoz, and CSULA students competing in the EcoCar 2 challenge were featured speakers at the event attended by students and coaches representing a record 79 teams. Each team has 4-6 students headed by a teacher/coach.

To compete in the annual race, students must build a working model racing vehicle using a solar panel and gear kit. Every team receives a starting kit which includes a solar panel and electric motor. How they choose to construct a winning racer and what they will add to the basic kit will also be judged in separate categories for design, innovation, and speed.

“This year’s Solar Grand Prix will be bigger and better than ever. We have a record number of students and coaches who have signed up to compete in the race. Every year, I’m amazed at how innovative and technologically advanced our students are when I see the model cars they create each year,” Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske commented.

The Solar Grand Prix was launched by the Fifth District Sustainability Task Force as a way to introduce students to the possibilities of careers green technologies and to introduce them to practical applications of engineering, design, and creativity.

Seventy-nine teams, 66 middle school, and 13 high school teams have registered. Students grades 6-12 will design and build a solar-powered model car that will race, powered only by the sun.

The event, sponsored by American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, Ameco Solar, AES Alamitos, Long Beach Police Officers Association, Long Beach City College, Segue to Solar, Parnters of Parks, and the Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine is expected to attract over 1000 family members, friends, and fans who will gather to watch the cars race on a 20 meter (65 foot) track in a series of head to head elimination rounds.

The 4th Annual Solar Grand Prix will be held in behind the Parks and Recreation Administration Building on Saturday, April 20th starting at 10 am. For more information about the Solar Grand Prix, contact Rachel Powers, Neighborhood Liaison in the Office of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, 562-570-6932 or rachel.powers@longbeach.gov. Information about the race is also posted on the 5th District website and more information about the CSULA EcoCar 2 team can be found here .

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