For a fifth consecutive time, the Michigan Solar Car Team has won the American Solar Challenge! As Quantum approached the finish line around noon on Monday, teammates cheered around the sidelines while race crew member Mikhail Gorelik waved the checkered flag. Once the car had come across the line, officially completing the competition, the entire team came together and ran with Quantum to its finish point. Going in, we sang “Hail to the Victors” to the cheers of the gathered crowd.
The road up to Minneapolis had not been an easy one. For the entire day, the University of Minnesota challenged us to be first across the line. Throughout the trip, our two teams moved between first and second, even driving alongside one another on a few occasions. In the end, Quantum prevailed, defeating Minnesota to win the stage by a mere 45 seconds. Though we were all excited to have won the day, the team gave Minnesota a standing ovation as they ran in alongside their solar car.
After we had finished, other teams continued to come in. By late afternoon, all eight teams that had started out from the La Crosse, Wisconsin stage had arrived and the celebration could begin. Race crews shook hands, high-fived, and even exchanged shirts with one another to commemorate the finale of our 1,750 mile journey. No one seemed to mind that most of the shirts had been worn for several days straight without a wash. Solar car fans were also present throughout the day. They cheering as each car came in, congratulated the teams, and asked us questions about our long trip.
As the sun was beginning to set, all of the race crews gathered at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium for the awards ceremony. There, Michigan received the American Solar Challenge trophy as well as its fifth consecutive stage winner award of the competition. Hoisting the trophy over our heads, each race crew member beamed from the pure joy of seeing their hard work and dedication continue the winning legacy of our team.
As we retire to a hotel for the evening before making the long drive back to Ann Arbor, we would all like to thank everyone who has made this possible. To our families, thank you for supporting us as we worked day and night to prepare Quantum to go out on the road. To our fans, thank you for riding with us every mile of the way. Seeing your support at all of our stops and on our social media was the fuel that kept us running all the way from Austin to Minneapolis. To our alumni, thank you for your guidance and support. You laid the foundation for us to be able to accomplish this amazing feat. And finally, thank you to our sponsors for giving us the tools, funding, and training to design, build, and race Quantum. We were proud to carry your names and logos through the finish line of the American Solar Challenge.