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Winston-Dell Solar Challenge stops in Meridian

By By Penny Randall / staff writer
July 18, 2003
Ever wonder what a solar-powered car looks like and how it works? Then head to Bonita Lakes Mall to see one up-close and personal.
Participants in the 2003 Winston-Dell Solar Challenge will make their cars available for viewing at about 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the main entrance at Bonita Lakes Mall.
Half a dozen cars and about 90 race participants will be on hand to answer questions and speak about their vehicles.
The solar challenge teams will arrive in Meridian from Natchez.
The 2003 race began at Dell Computer's World Headquarters in Austin, Texas. So far, teams have passed through communities in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
They will continue through Alabama and Florida before finishing at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa, Fla.
In 1993, the Winston Solar Car Team launched an education program to provide curriculum materials, on-site visits and workshop opportunities for high schools across the country.
This effort was designed to motivate students in the sciences and stress the value of alternative energy.
The end product of each two-year education cycle is the Dell-Winston Solar Challenge a closed-track or cross-country race designed to give students an opportunity to display their work.
The first such Challenge in 1995 attracted 90 schools, leading to nine schools actually building cars for the race. Three cars qualified to run.
The 1997 Challenge grew to more than 350 schools in five countries, leading to 22 schools building cars for the race. Eight of these cars qualified to run the 1997 race, a 600-mile event from Dallas to San Antonio.
The 1999 challenge was a 1,600-mile event from Dallas to Los Angeles. Students from more than 750 schools shared in the event; nine teams qualified.
The 2001 challenge traced its course from Austin, Texas, to the outskirts of Indianapolis, Ind.
The Dell-Winston Solar Challenge now hosts annual events based on the addition of resources from the Texas Motor Speedway.
Even-numbered year events will be closed track races at the speedway; odd-numbered year events will continue to be cross-country races.
The Dell-Winston Solar Challenge is hosted by the Winston Solar Car Team, a high school solar program at The Winston School in Dallas.