The solar car racing season is on across the country as the Dell computer company and nearly 100 high school students kicked off the Eighth Annual Dell-Winston Solar Car Challenge. This comes just on the heels of a separate race, the American Solar Challenge, which caters to the University-level solar car platform.Round Rock, Texas – July 16, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The solar car racing season is on across the country as the Dell computer company and nearly 100 students kicked off the Eighth Annual Dell-Winston Solar Car Challenge. This comes just on the heels of a separate race, the American Solar Challenge, which caters to the University-level solar car platform. The eighth annual Dell-Winston Solar Car Challenge, which begins at Dell’s headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, will wind its way through Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, en route to the finish line in Cocoa, Florida, a total of 1,500 miles. The five teams have been preparing for the competition nearly 18 months, along the way getting hands-on experience in science and advanced technology. Dell is the national sponsor of the educational program. “One-third of the jobs that will grow the fastest this decade are in technology,” said Dr. Lehman Marks, event director and founder, Dell-Winston Solar Car Challenge. “Technology is emerging into virtually every area of life. Programs like this solar car race help students develop the digital literacy, teamwork and communication skills needed to be successful in the workforce.” The students racing hand-built, solar-powered cars are from Ridgway, Colorado; Columbus, Indiana; Newburgh, New York; Houston, Mississippi; and Juarez, Mexico. “The Dell-Winston Solar Car Challenge is an example of how companies can do their part to provide students with 21st century skills that are now required in the 21st century workforce,” said John Bailey, director of technology, U.S. Department of Education. “Efforts like this serve as examples for how we can help equip students with the math, science and technology skills that are part of No Child Left Behind,” Bailey said. The nine-day race will conclude at the Central Florida State Energy Center in Cocoa, Florida where Central Florida State University will host an awards banquet. The racers will use Dell notebooks and wireless technology to gauge solar car battery usage, monitor weather patterns, track competitors via global positioning systems and upload daily statistics to the race’s website listed at the link below. In addition, the race judges will use the notebooks to track the teams each day, and with Internet access can track each car as it travels the course. Each year, the Dell-Winston Solar Car Challenge rotates between the Texas Motor Speedway and a cross-country route. The Winston School, a private K-12 school in Dallas focused on realizing the potential of bright children who learn differently, uses a combination of distance learning and a multi-city tour to educate teachers and students about the Dell-Winston Solar Car Challenge, including how to plan, design and build their own solar cars. “Dell is proud to provide students the tools needed to compete not only in this year’s event but in the workforce of the future,” said Karen Bruett, director of education, government and healthcare marketing for Dell.