Every solar race is different. Every race, we have a new Race Crew and a new car built around new regulations that ultimately shape design and fabrication. But one thing has never changed: Chuck Hutchins’ unwavering support of the team and its race towards a victory.
Among the many things Chuck does for our team, nothing beats seeing him at the starting line waving the maize and blue flag loud and proud, guiding our solar car. Since he first ran with the car Maize and Blue in 1993, Chuck has given our cars this send-off at the start of nearly every solar race in a sign of solidarity and tradition. The 2017 World Solar Challenge was no exception, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way!
Chuck has been a longtime friend of the team. Since the very beginning, Chuck has been a mentor and advocate to the University of Michigan Solar Car Team. As a safekeeper of tradition and team culture, Chuck has instilled UM Solar Car values in generation after generation of our team. This cycle was no exception, with Chuck inspiring us to uphold and further the UM Solar Car tradition of excellence.
Chuck studied Mechanical Engineering and co-founded Manufacturing Data Systems, Inc., and Chuck’s experience in engineering and innovation was invaluable during the development of Novum, our most daring vehicle to date. This cycle, Chuck also provided the team with monetary support that helped us make the dream of Novum a reality; when our engineers were working on Novum’s design, the largest hurdle the team faced was financing the car. Chuck’s contribution set us one step closer and eventually helped this dream come to fruition. Chuck’s contributions didn’t end there, though. He was right beside Race Crew in Australia and treated them to several team dinners. After a long day of work, this was a great opportunity for Race Crew to decompress and spend time with Chuck, something they were very grateful for.
“Since 1990, Chuck has been a supporter of the team and our biggest fan on and off the race. I met Chuck for the first time over the summer and noticed that his passion and dedication to the team is unparalleled in all regards,” says 2017 Business Race Crew member Neil Jain. “From providing engineering advice at design reviews and stopping by the Wilson Center to see the car as it’s being built to being right by our side during the race, Chuck embodies UM Solar Car and wishes the best for the team always. I am looking forward to sharing many more memories with him and cannot thank him enough for all that he does for us. Chuck, THANK YOU!”
To our biggest fan and longest supporter: thank you, Chuck! We could not have won second place without you! We look forward to kicking off the next race with you and to experiencing even bigger and better things together.