U of M students win fifth consecutive American Solar Challenge title

Students from the University of Michigan took home their fifth consecutive title at the American Solar Challenge last week.

The three-wheeled team car, Quantum, crossed the finish line just before 2 p.m. Monday after an exhilarating eight day, 1,700 mile, 41 and a half hour journey.

A fifth consecutive win almost slipped through the cracks.  The team had a big hiccup right out of the gate.

Driver Jake Fratzke said the motor started cutting out unexpectedly and he wasn’t able to crest the hill he was trying to climb.  After the team pushed the car over the hill they conducted a swift motor replacement and were back on the road, driving at the speed limit.

The race began at the University of Texas in Austin July 20 and concluded at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis eight days later.

All in all they lost about 20 to 30 minutes for the fix, but were back in front by the end of the day.

“This isn’t just a win,” project manager Pavan Naik said.  “It’s a win after one failure after another.  We’ve learned so much from that-how to work as a team and how to help each other out.”

Twenty-two other teams from colleges around the country participated in the solar powered race.