News Service


Allen Ihlefeld, Team PrISUm, (515) 294-0899
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University's solar car, PrISUm Phoenix, will be in the pole position for Sunrayce 99. Iowa State's solar car team, Team PrISUm, won the pole position during Sunrayce qualifiers, held at the General Motors Proving Grounds, Milford, Mich., May 1-2 and May 8-9. Iowa State took part in qualifiers on May 1-2.

Sitting atop the list of 17 solar car teams that have qualified for Sunrayce 99 is Iowa State's PrISUm Phoenix solar car. The car, a sleek, two-dimensional airfoil design, completed the most miles ever (300.84) in the driving portion of qualifiers.

"Our team has taken great strides to design and produce an excellent vehicle," said Allen Ihlefeld, director of Team PrISUm. "We built a superior vehicle that passed all of the inspection stations and qualified with ease. We look forward to the race in June."

Qualifying for Sunrayce is a two-day event. The first day is devoted to "scrutineering" of the solar cars, where race officials check to see that each car meets safety and performance regulations. The second day is an eight-hour race day, where teams must drive at least 125 miles to qualify for the race. Some teams complete the 125 miles early (Iowa State qualified by mid morning) then race each other for the most miles they can log by the end of the race day. This determines starting order for Sunrayce 99.

The top five teams of the 17 that have qualified for Sunrayce 99 are: Iowa State; Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, Ind.; University of Missouri, Rolla; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; and Kansas State University, Manhattan. For a complete lineup see

The field of 40 cars will be filled out at "last chance" qualifiers just prior to Sunrayce 99. Sunrayce 99 will be June 20-29 from Washington, D.C. to Orlando, Fla., a total of 1,340 miles.

Sunrayce is an on-going educational program that culminates in a biennial cross-country race of solar-powered cars. The program is open to colleges, universities, trade schools and other post-secondary educational institutions. PrISUm Phoenix is the fifth solar car built by Iowa State students, who have participated in Sunrayce activities since 1990.

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