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New World Record at Solar Drag Race

The winning Whidbey dragster hit a top sped of 25 mph. Click to enlarge.

The South Whidbey Team dragster set a new world record of 29.5 seconds for the quarter-kilometer distance at the third annual Solar Drag Race in Wenatchee, Washington this past weekend.

Vehicles participating in the Solar Drag Race can only use solar panels for power—no batteries or pre-charged devices are allowed.

Three other solar drag-racing teams from Washington state competed in this annual event. Team Photon Phantom, sponsored by Brooks Solar of Chelan, beat the previous world record with a time of 43 seconds. Central Washington University, the only college entry, finished with a time of 104 seconds.

Middle school students from Republic built a solar dragster that competed in the high school division and finished in 69 seconds.

As winners of their respective divisions, Central Washington University and Republic teams each received $1,000 scholarships provided by REC Silicon of Moses Lake. REC Silicon is one of the world’s largest producers of purified silicon, a key component of solar cells.

The Solar Drag Race takes place once a year on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice. The race is organized by Dr. Jim White of Wenatchee as a way to increase understanding of solar power, build enthusiasm, and get youth involved in the growing field of solar energy.

We don’t have an energy shortage; we have an energy intelligence shortage. We just need to become smart enough to capture all the clean renewable energy that shines around us every day. The goal of the solar drag race is to help us find that knowledge.

—Jim White

(A hat-tip to Jim!)



This is definitely not your fathers dragster.


That's for sure! My father's dragster used an old solar water heater from a swimming pool to drive a really weak turbine, and took almost an hour. Leaked like a seive. He said the only good part was that at least you were in the shade...or am I bluffing.


Almost good enough to beat a female sprinter, but still several seconds behind the guys.


True, but think of the carbon footprint of all of the gatorade those sprinters are drinking!

Bill Milosch

"We don’t have an energy shortage; we have an energy intelligence shortage." I love it! That is why we need way more socially responsible business leaders. I was on the Social Venture Network’s website today and came across this contest for socially responsible business leaders: It looks like a great way to reward new businesses for working toward the greater good.


Hi,I was the driver that set the record it was a fantastic experience being involved with this project. I think that everryone involved learned alot. All schools need to have projects like this!!!!!!!

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