For the sixth time, the University of Michigan Solar Car Team won the 2010 American Solar Challenge, a long-distance road rally across the U.S in a car powered only by the sun.
Seventeen teams took part in the 1,200-mile race, which alternates years with the Global Green Challenge (formerly the World Solar Challenge) held in Australia. The North American race began in Tulsa, Okla., on June 20 and ended six days later in Naperville, Ill.
The University of Michigan's Infinium solar car was an obvious front runner. With five wins under their belt and boasting a top speed of more than 100 mph, University of Michigan placed first at the Formula Sun Grand Prix, the qualifying event leading up to the the race, and led every segment of the race.
But it takes more than speed to win the multistage race. The Michigan team posted on its blog that the Infinium often got caught in traffic, erasing its lead and giving University of Minnesota a chance to catch up.
Despite traffic setbacks and a 15-minute delay caused by rain damage to the vehicle's lighting board, the Michigan team sprinted across finish line at around 10 a.m. Sunday, sealing its sixth victory in the race's 20-year history with an elapsed time of 28 hours, 14 minutes, and 44 seconds.
University of Minnesota took second place in the race, with an elapsed time of 30 hours, 26 minutes, and 53 seconds, and German team Hochschule Bochum crossed the finish line in third place approximately 10 minutes later.
The University of Michigan team will now focus on the 2011 Global Green Challenge.