COTA open Saturday for Formula Sun Grand Prix


The Formula Sun Grand Prix, a three-day race for solar-powered electric cars, will wrap up Saturday at Circuit of the Americas. The public is invited for the final day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., free of charge.

Students from 18 universities in the United States and Canada are competing in the 24-hour endurance race, which started Thursday with an eight-hour segment. The car that completes the most laps wins the race. A prize will be given for the fastest lap, as well.

The cars run on electric motors, with batteries powered exclusively by solar panels located on the cars, all designed and built by college students.

Schools like Florida, Kentucky, Northwestern and Cal-Berkeley are competing. The University of Texas has entered the TexSun racer.

Iowa State won the last Formula Sun race at COTA in 2015, the Cyclones completing 223 laps (758 miles), with their fastest clocking at 4.3 minutes over the 3.4-mile road course layout.

Fans can tour the paddock and garages and take in exhibits and activities, including a children’s solar model car building workshop. The track’s café will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and additional concessions available in the paddock.

The Formula Sun Grand Prix, which started in 2000, is an annual qualifying race for the American Solar Challenge, run on even numbered years.

COTA’s 2017 race schedule, its most ambitious since opening in late 2012, will continue Labor Day weekend with the Pirelli World Challenge for high-performance sports cars.



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