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Western Michigan University's Sunseeker will be racing this week in a Grand Prix in Texas


AUSTIN, TEXAS (WKZO) -- WMU’s Sunseeker team has traveled to Texas to compete in the Formula Sun Grand Prix all this week.

They will be competing against 12 cars from other engineering schools in the U.S. and Canada.

It’s a very different event than the biennial American Solar Challenge, which is usually a cross-country competition on public roads that can be 25-hundred miles long. This event takes place on a closed course, the Circuit of Americas Track in Austin.

Project Manager Joshua Allen says the first three days this week will be spent passing rigorous inspections to not only make sure their hand-built custom solar cars are safe, but to evaluate their engineering. Thursday, Friday and Saturday will be spent racing. The team with the most laps accumulated over the three days wins.

A trophy will also be given out for the fastest single lap.

The race also tests the mental acuity of the teams as they try to balance energy, speed and efficiency to get the most out of their cars. Their only source of power is a battery charged by the solar cells fixed to the skin of their carbon fiber bodies.

It’s the 23rd year that WMU has raced the Sunseeker.   We will be following the teams progress and have daily updates.