Warming up for the Solar Car Challenge

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WFAA

Posted on July 21, 2013 at 9:41 PM

Updated Sunday, Jul 21 at 9:46 PM

FORT WORTH — Build your own car and then drive it cross-country.

Oh, and by the way — it must be powered by the sun.

While that sounds like a daunting task, teams of high school students are doing just that.

This is the 20th anniversary of the Solar Car Challenge. Qualifying for the race began at Texas [Electric] Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on Sunday.

This year's event is a cross-country drive from Fort Worth all the way to Los Angeles.

It is the culmination of months of hard work. Students learn how to plan, design, engineer, build and safely drive roadworthy solar-powered cars.

A lot goes into making a winning car. "It's not who has the best car," said contestant Trey Franklin of the Houston Solar Race Team in Houston, Mississippi. "It's who has the best team and knows their car the best," he said.

Fourteen teams from across the country are in the qualifying round, half of them representing Texas schools. The race will begin on Tuesday on a route [see map] that is scheduled to pass through Carlsbad, New Mexico, El Paso, Florence, Arizona, 29 Palms California and ending in Los Angeles on July 30.

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