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Sunrayce 97 Begins
Day 1 - Indianapolis to Terre Haute
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Terre Haute, Ind., June 19, 1997 -- Manta GT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's entry in Sunrayce 97 made the quickest trip Thursday from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to Terre Haute in the first leg North America's largest solar car event.
The MIT's 1995 team finished first overall in the last Sunrayce, held in 1995. But this year's car was "an all new design," said driver Ivano Gregoratto, a graduating senior.
Thirty-six sun-powered vehicles sped out of the famous Brickyard at 10 a.m. under sunny skies after two parade laps led by General Motors' Ken Baker, GM's Vice President of Research and Development Center, in their new electric vehicle -- the EV1.
The cars arrived at the day's final destination, the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, between 11:37 a.m. and 1:33 p.m. MIT's car took only 1 hour, 37 minutes and 8 seconds to travel the 65 miles at an average speed of 40.60 miles per hour. Closely following was Stanford University/University of California-Berkeley's Afterburner II coming in at 1:37:25, with an average speed of 40.48 miles per hour. George Washington University's car rounded out the top three with a time of 1:37:53 and an average speed of 40.29 miles per hour.
"The team feels really great. I was worried," Gregoratto said. "We were neck-and-neck with Cal State, and you had no idea what was going on behind you."
Sunrayce 97 continues on Friday with a 169 mile trek to Godfrey, Illinois with a mid-day stop in Effingham, Illinois.
Sunrayce 97 is a solar cross country staged event that runs from Indianapolis to Colorado Springs, Colorado. The 10-day event will cross through Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, EDS and General Motors.
(See Sunrayce Website for the official race results for the day.)