1993: Maize and Blue
American Solar Challenge Champions 1993 // 1993 World Solar Challenge 11th Place
The team strengthened its ties with the University and industry during the 1993 project, helping it to gain access to state-of-art computer technology. This enabled the entire car to be designed using software, laying the technical foundation for all future teams. After an extra year to raise money and design, this Michigan team appeared poised to better the record of 1990′s Sunrunner. After finishing first in the 1993 SunRayce, Maize & Blue experienced severe problems with their high-powered solar array and finished in eleventh place at the 1993 World Solar Challenge. Maize & Blue is on public display at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago, Illinois.
Read more about Maize and Blue on its Wikipedia page.
'93 Race Crew Reunites in Chicago
In 1993, the University of Michigan Solar Car Team won its second American championship in solar racing. Twenty-one years later, the team met together once again with the championship car, Maize and Blue, now located at The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois.
“It was an awesome blast from the past to see everyone, the car, and some real surprises that others brought with them,” said Furqan Nazeeri, project manager of the 1993 Maize and Blue team. Furqan organized the reunion and had a great time meeting up with his colleagues. Former team members had brought along their national championship trophy, newspaper articles, team uniforms, and “best of all, photo albums with hundreds of memories.”
Team members ecstatically described their vehicle to their families and friends. For many of them, it was the first time in 21 years that they were able to handle the vehicle they built. When Andy Warner, crew chief for Maize and Blue, lifted the car’s canopy, Andrew Walberer, another 1993 alumna, exclaimed “I couldn’t believe Andy let us touch the car!”
Maize and Blue finished first in the 1993 SunRayce (now known as the North American Solar Challenge), but experienced problems with their high-powered solar array at the 1993 World Solar Challenge which led to an 11th place finish. The car was revolutionary to the team as it was the first Michigan solar car to be entirely designed using computer software.
Many former members shared the belief that they need to start having reunions more often than once every 20 years. “The bonds we formed on that team persist in a way that is hard to explain,” Walberer said. “It was so great to see Furqan and other members of the team reunite and share their work with friends and family. They even had a Google Hangout with a few teammates who couldn’t make it to the reunion and were able to show those members the car.”
“I’m glad we all got to connect,” Furqan said, “even if virtually!”
Our current team members look forward to our own reunion in the future and we hope to be able to proudly show our friends and family the car that we plan on building for the 2015 World Solar Challenge!