Solar car team overcomes obstacles to place third

    The Northwestern University Solar Car Team takes their race car on the road this past fall. The team will build a new solar car next year. Alex Zhu / North by Northwestern.

    The Northwestern University Solar Car Team took third place in a field of 10 in the Formula Sun Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last Thursday through Saturday.

    “I think my team did great,” said Weinberg senior Peter Fellenz, the team’s project manager. “They really pulled together and performed well and we’re really happy with the results of the race. Our car performed admirably.”

    They overcame obstacles like a stolen truck and a battery replacement to stay neck-in-neck with Illinois State University for the second place spot for the majority of the race. When the crew’s battery died, race engineers thought the team was down for the count, Fellenz said. But the crew fixed the issue in 10 minutes.

    When the team’s truck, the vehicle that they use to tow its trailer, was stolen Thursday, it only complicated matters. Police recovered it Saturday morning.

    “We tried not to let it affect us, but it was a setback,” Fellenz said. “It was one more thing we had to worry about.”

    This year the team’s primary focus was testing out the new electrical system students developed, Fellenz said. Next year the team will build a new car.

    While only 11 students made the trip to Indianapolis last weekend, 40 worked on the car this year in some capacity.


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