Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
July 2, 1999

ISU team captures 5th place in Sunrayce 99

by Skip Derra

This year's Sunrayce was ironic in that the sun barely shined during the entire race. But it didnt stop Iowa State's Team PrISUm from turning in its best finish yet. The ISU student group raced their PrISUm Phoenix car to a fifth place finish in Sunrayce 99, completing the 1,424 mile route in 65 hours, 28 minutes and 13 seconds for an average speed of 21.75 mph.

The University of Missouri, Rolla, won the race with an overall elapsed time of 56:16:44 and an average speed of 25.30 mph. Queens University was second, (57:04:02), for 24.95 mph.

"I think what we accomplished was awesome," said Team PrISUm director Allen Ihlefeld. "For the hand we were dealt, I think we did an excellent job in coming in fifth place with almost no sun."

Sunrayce 99 was more of a rainfest than a solar car race. From the beginning in Washington, D.C., to the end in Orlando, just about every day was overcast. Some days were down- right abysmal with heavy driving rains.

"The advantage of our car is its aerodynamics, and to take advantage of that we needed to have plenty of sunshine to operate at higher speeds," Ihlefeld said. "If there were more sunshine, this wouldve been a very different race."

The previous best for an Iowa State team in Sunrayce was 10th place in 1993, when the race came through Ames. The fact that this team, which put two years in designing, building and now racing their car, finished this high in less-than-cooperative weather shows the true strength of the team, Ihlefeld said.

"Finishing in the top five is the direct result of the abilities of our team," Ihlefeld added. "Everyone fit in his or her role and we all pulled together to make this the best finish of any Iowa State solar car team."

A welcome back event for the ISU solar car team will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 6, at the solar car garage (Old Sweeney Hall, next to the water tower). The public is invited.

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