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U-M solar car team wins Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge

The University of Michigan Solar Car squad took top spot in the inaugural Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge. The team, composed of U-M alumni and students, partnered with students from the University of Abu Dhabi (ADU) to race their championship car, Quantum, against 15 teams from six continents.

On the road. Click to enlarge.

Starting in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, the event comprised three days of racing through city streets and desert. By a narrow margin, the team was the first to cross the finish line on the last day of the competition. Overall, Quantum—a legacy car (the current University of Michigan Solar Car is Generation 2013, Quantum’s successor)—finished roughly two-and-a-half minutes ahead of the second place team, Petroleum Institute.

The U-M team has a history of strong performances in global solar competitions, but this is the first race they have won on an international stage. Bringing students and alumni together on a team is another first for this student-run organization.

More than a dozen ADU engineering students joined the U-M squad throughout the event. These students worked alongside the team, learning about the technology, mechanics and strategy that define a successful solar car organization.

What’s really neat is that we’ve taken a legacy car that was never intended to be competitive at this point, a team of people who have never raced together, and came out here and battled hard against some amazing competitors. It speaks to the depth and the integrity of the program that we’ve built. You can step back in, and the heartbeat is still the same. The idea is still the same.

—Joe Lambert, crew chief and 2004 U-M aerospace engineering graduate

The team was awarded their trophy by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi at the opening ceremonies of the 2015 World Future Energy Summit, which kicks off Abu Dhabi Sustainability week. Quantum will be on display in various venues through the weeklong event.


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