GT Solar Racing

2018 ~ Present | ** Previous experience with this team is required ** American Solar Challenge, Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, SGA, Delta Tech Ops, Boeing, FedEx, Ford, GM, Marand, SBM Solar, etc.



To design and build a solar powered vehicle to compete in the Formula Sun Grand Prix, an endurance based track race, and the American Solar Challenge, a cross-country road race.

Issues Involved or Addressed

Solar powered race cars are ultra-efficient electric land vehicles capable of traveling across entire continents at highway speeds on a single battery charge. Their design and operation represent one of the most unique and challenging problems of systems optimization and cross-country logistics as the vehicles are designed to race in environments ranging from the American Midwest to the Australian Outback. GTSR focuses primarily on speed-based vehicles, known as the Challenger class, and competes in the American Solar Challenge.

Overall, the goal is to optimize speed per power: to achieve the fastest velocities for the least amount of power cost. To do this requires both depth and breadth of knowledge across multiple STEM and non-STEM fields. The overall team is broken into five divisions with subteams that dig deeper into each facet of the vehicle’s design. They are:

  • Mechanical à Aerobody, Brakes & Pedals, Frame (Chassis), Steering, and Suspension.
  • Electrical à Drivetrain, Batteries, Solar, Telemetry, and Auxiliary Systems.
  • Business - Acquires and manages sponsors for the team and oversees budget planning.
  • Outreach - Coordinates the team’s physical presence at displays and media online.
  • Race Operations - Plans the race and coordinates team logistics for drive tests.

Members can tackle technical & non-technical problems in-depth such as streamlined aerodynamics, space frame design, solar array design & fabrication, battery protection systems, CAN communication, welding (TIG/MIG), carbon fiber/fiberglass layup, long-range telemetry, human-machine interface design, structural analysis, suspension design & analysis, controller design, battery balancing, and more.

Methods and Technologies

  • Advanced Systems Optimization
  • Aerodynamic Analysis & CFD
  • CAM/Advanced Machining
  • Composite Structures & Construction
  • Solar Array Design
  • Battery Management Systems
  • Lithium-ion Battery Packs
  • Microcontrollers
  • Circuit Board Design

Academic Majors of Interest

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • General Management
  • Global Development
  • IT Management
  • Leadership and Organizational Change
  • Marketing
  • Operations and Supply Chain Management
  • Strategy and Innovation
  • Algorithms, Combinatorics and Optimization
  • Analytics
  • Computational Media
  • Computational Science and Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Cybersecurity
  • Human-Centered Computing
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • OMSCS asynchronous
  • OMSCS asynchronous, case-by-case
  • OMSCS synchronous
  • OMSCS synchronous, case-by-case
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Applied Systems Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • Bioinformatics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Health Systems
  • Industrial Engineering
  • International Logistics
  • Machine Learning
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Physics
  • Robotics
  • Applied Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Statistics

Preferred Interests and Preparation

ME – Background/interest in CAD/FEA, frame and suspension design, steering system design, human machine interfacing, brakes/pedals integration, computer aided manufacturing, welding, composite manufacturing (carbon & fiberglass), tribology, and designing of parts for high-endurance use.

AE/MSE – Vehicle aerodynamics (3-D streamlined vehicles), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), composites manufacturing, vehicle stability, and thermal analysis.

EE/CmpE/CS - Background/interest in embedded hardware design, microcontrollers, multilayered circuit board design, programming (C, C++, Python, Matlab), high voltage battery pack design, electromagnetic induction motors, power protection, data acquisition & telemetry.

BA/MGMT/IE – Background/interest in corporate relations, sponsorships, networking, design presentations, project management, public relations, social media, finance.

CM – Background/interest website design, graphic design, videography, photography.

All Majors – Design of ultra-efficient & high-endurance land vehicles, advanced machining techniques, additive manufacturing, vehicle testing, project management, carbon fiber layups, networking and sponsorship, shop management, vehicle and race simulation, testing procedures, driving practice, and trans-continental racing logistics.

Meeting Schedule & Location

Meeting Location 
Love 210
Meeting Day 

Team Advisors

Dr. David Smith
  • Mechanical Engineering

Partner(s) and Sponsor(s)

** Previous experience with this team is required ** American Solar Challenge, Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, SGA, Delta Tech Ops, Boeing, FedEx, Ford, GM, Marand, SBM Solar, etc.

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