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Ross Fischer, Team PrISUm, (515) 294-0899
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- Team PrISUm, Iowa State University's solar car team, has begun a competition for the paint design that will adorn the next ISU solar car. The competition is open to anybody with a creative design idea, said Ross Fischer, assistant director of Team PrISUm and an ISU senior in computer engineering.

PrISUm Spectrum, the seventh ISU solar car, will race in the American Solar Challenge, a Chicago to Los Angeles solar car race in the summer of 2003.

"Everyone has put a lot of time and work into the new car, we want it to look its best when it races across country in the American Solar Challenge," Fischer said. "We encourage anyone who is interested in helping us come up with a creative and interesting paint design."

The challenge is to create a paint design for a car primarily covered in solar cells, Fischer said. The top of the car will be covered in more than 3,000 dark blue solar cells, leaving only the solar car's nose, sides, undercarriage, wheel covers and small areas along the top of the car exposed for the paint design.

Past paint designs were based on the name of the car. For example, PrISUm Phoenix, the fifth ISU solar car, was a combination of red, gold and black and had a phoenix on its nose. It won several design awards, including the EDS Renaissance Engineering Award and a Formula Sun Artistic Design Award. PrISUm Odyssey, the sixth solar car was painted black, blue and gold and had flames and a Sun silhouette in it's design. It won Best Artistic Design during the 2001 American Solar Challenge.

"With Spectrum, the challenge will be how to convey what it stands for -- the reference to the light spectrum as well as enormity of the project," Fischer said.

Deadline for entry into the Spectrum paint design competition is Oct. 7. The winner will be notified by Oct. 28, and will receive a PrISUm team race T-shirt.

For more information on the competition and for entry forms, call Fischer at (515) 294-0899 or go to


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