Solar Electric Go Kart
Bristol Motor Speedway will welcome some of the region's brightest young minds to The Last Great Colosseum in May as the historic facility hosts a solar powered go-kart race for regional schools in Tennessee.
The Monday, May 8th event will showcase students from 20 schools in 13 school systems. The challenge will feature a speed race around the apron of The World's Fastest Half-Mile and an endurance test, utilizing different obstacles in the BMS infield. Teams have been hard at work since last fall to build their solar powered go-karts. The schools will be converting gasoline powered go-karts to electric power, complete with DC motors, battery arrays and on-board solar panels.
"We're big proponents of STEM programs in school and think this is the perfect event for the state to showcase its young talent, " said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager at Bristol Motor Speedway. "It's important for high school students to continue learning, even outside of the classroom. We're glad to be hosting this event and can't wait to see the students in competition with their innovative solar go-kart designs."
Each school received a "Perkins Reserve Grant" from the Tennessee Department of Education to fund the project. About $1 million in grants are awarded in Tennessee each year and all grants are extremely competitive in nature. Each school system participating was awarded $99, 000 for the project.
"The greatest benefit of this whole project is that students are faced with a real world engineering task, " said Dr. William Flanary of the Washington County Department of Education. "And to have an organization as iconic as Bristol Motor Speedway lend their support makes this whole experience unforgettable for the students involved."