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Whitaker Center

Solar Go-Kart Race


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The 2016 SunChase will be held on Saturday, April 2, 2016!

Sunchase Announcement

Elementary Challenge - Build a mini-solar car

Middle School Challenge - Build a remotely controlled mini-solar car


High School Registration: Click Here

Middle School Registration: Available March 15

Elementary School Registration: Available March 15


H.S. Go-Kart Race Regulations

The April 2016 SunChase TM marks our fourth annual solar go-kart challenge at Florida Gulf Coast University, and each year our primary goal is safety! The solar panels on top of the Go-Kart make the unit awkward to handle and can catch the wind if the Go-Kart is not driven carefully. We selected an outstanding motor with great speed capabilities. Our testing indicates that speeds of 35 mph are possible with the motor provided. In designing the Go-Kart, we also sought a safe frame with disk brakes and a wide wheel base. So as in NASCAR, we have developed regulation based on the design to make the race fair, safe and solar-powered. The rules will be strictly enforced. Failure to comply with the rules below will disqualify a team from the race.

Rule #1: Keeping in mind that the go-kart can tip over at high speeds, student drivers must wear the following:

  • Closed-toe shoes
  • Helmet
  • Gloves (driving or construction gloves o.k.)
  • Seat belts o 5-point harness required
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Long pants (jeans)

Rule #2: Drivers must be at least 15 years old. The teacher-mentor is required to provide verification.

Rule #3: No push starts.

Rule #4: No trailers.

Rule #5: No transmissions. Gears can be switched between races, but not during the race.

Rule #6: No modifications may be made to the go-kart steel chassis. Frame modifications may result in a penalty or disqualification.

Rule #7: The motor controller provided with the motor must be used, unless prior permission was given to change it.

Rule #8: At least one solar panel must be used in the race. A maximum of 800W is allowed for your solar panel(s).

Rule #9: Minimum 4 gauge high-current circuit wire must be used between the battery and controller, and between the controller and the motor, including through the emergency power switch and fuse. (eg. 3 gauge o.k., 5 is not)

Rule #10: No battery exchange or external recharging is allowed between the races. A limit of 960 Watt-hours of battery storage will be strictly enforced. Lithium batteries are not allowed. Recommended batteries are valve-regulated, deepdischarge, sealed, lead-acid batteries (example in the dropbox). Example battery configurations are as follows:

   Battery voltage       Amp-hour limit for each battery       Number of batteries       Maximum allowed Watt-hours   
12V 20Ah 4 960
24V 20Ah 2 960
48V 20Ah 1 960


Inspections: Technical inspections are performed by our team prior to the race to confirm compliance with rules 1-10. Please read these rules carefully and contact us with any questions. We want this event to be educational and fun and most importantly safe! Thanks for you participation and commitment.



Congratulations to Bishop Verot High School Vikings our 2015 overall Solar Go-Kart Challenge Champion!


If you are interested in building a cart for 2016, please contact the Whitaker Center. 



Wondering how you can sponsor this event and get involved? Contact the Whitaker Center at (239)590-7444!