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Ray-cing under the sun for over a decade!


The Illinois State University Solar Car Team aims to offer a unique learning experience for students interested in science, engineering, and technology as well as to provide an educational program to demonstrate the benefits of alternative energy to Illinois State University and neighboring communities. We plan to continue competing in races across North America and the world as a way to test and improve our skills and promote a greener future.


5th Place in 2016 Formula Sun Grand Prix (Wampum, PA) 

3rd Place in 2015  Formula Sun Grand Prix (Austin, TX)

2nd Place in the 2013 Formula Sun Grand Prix (Austin, TX)

7th Place in the 2012 American Solar Challenge (New York – Minnesota)

4th Place in the 2012 Formula Sun Grand Prix (Monticello, NY)

2nd Place in the 2011 Formula Sun Grand Prix (Indianapolis, IN)

 2016 TEAM

The Illinois State University Solar Car Team is a student-led organization that designs, builds, and races solar vehicles against teams from around the world. We consist of a multidisciplinary team of undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty who volunteer time and energy to advance their skills and the promise of renewable energy. We have successfully built five solar vehicles and are currently designing our next generation car.

Brian Warner

Brian currently the President of the team he joined the team in the fall of 2014 and has been a key member of the team ever since. His role on the team has been both administrative and hands on, with him serving as part of the financial council, where he helps write proposals to various organizations to help the team find sponsorships. He also spends many hours working hands on with the team. He was also crucial in the creation of the carbon-fibre body of Mercury 5s as he was the only member of the team to be present for every single layup. He hopes in the future to learn the other aspects that go into building a solar car.

Nick Reichman

Nick serves as the "go-to-guy" for the team. He originally joined the team in fall 2013 as the CNC machinist where he created the hubs and uprights of Mercury V. Nick has skills in almost every aspect when it comes to building a solar car including carbon fiber layups, electrical, and machining. For the last few years Nick has been the "chief comrade in charge" but this year has stepped down as president to focus on passing along knowledge to new future solar car members. In December of 2016 he will graduated with a Masters degree in Project Management.

Logan Koepke

Logan is a graduate from ISU with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Technology. Logan is a strong advocate for the use of composite materials in order to give the team an edge in competition, and as such he was the main proponent of doing an entire carbon fibre chassis for Mercury 5s. Although his nametag said “Comedic Relief”, Logan helped the team develop their first carbon fibre chassis, which included a full battery of crash testing. With his prior knowledge coming into the team he has served the team well.

Santiago Pinto

Santiago comes to this team as one of the only team members from the Physics department, majoring in physics, and one of the only members from out of country, hailing from Bogota, Columbia. He has served the team very well since joining in the Fall semester of 2015. He learns quickly and is always willing to dive into a new challenge. As is tradition it seems, our shop advisor taught him how to use a lathe at his first meeting and from then on he was hooked. He helped machine a great deal of small parts on the lathe and mill in the shop and he has always been willing to lend a helping hand on whatever is needed. Despite coming to us with a theoretical background, he has picked up a great deal of physical skills and has also found himself as the resident jokester for the team, always keeping the mood light.

Dan Byl

Dan is majoring in Engineering Technology along with participating in the Army ROTC program found at ISU. Dan is fascinated with the process of how things are are built and how they operate, which led him to choose the major of Engineering Technology. Working with the solar car team has given him some of the most hands on and practical work involvement he has received in his lifetime, while also providing him with opportunities many people will go their entire lives without experiencing. Along with being responsible for the financial work on the team Dan was critical in building the solar array currently found on Mercury IV. Dan is looking forward to what the future has in store for both himself and the solar car team.

Keith Kennedy

Keith is majoring in Math Education and minoring in Engineering Education. Keith has been a part of the team since he begun at ISU in the fall of 2014. Last semester, he helped with many odds and ends with the car, learning as much as possible along the way. Despite his busy class schedule, he is currently in the process of creating a telemetry system utilizing Arduino microcontrollers to help the team with race day decisions. He hopes to become a high school math teacher upon graduation.

Anna Gallagher

Anna is pursuing a degree in Engineering Technology with a minor in Mathematics. Anna’s role on the team is to serve as a design and media specialist, but she is always willing to step in and get her hands dirty with the car. She was active in the remodeling of Mercury IV that occurred in the fall semester of 2014, helping out wherever she could. She can’t wait to see what adventures she will get into because of solar car and the new things she will learn.

Brad Derry

Brad joined the team in the Fall semester of 2015, his senior year at ISU. He graduated the Spring of 2016 with a bachelor's degree in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. Despite only being a member of the team for one year, he served the team well as he has a great deal of experience with the mechanical aspects of building a car and was a hobbyist welder. He managed to weld together the entire roll cage and all necessary brackets for the test frame for Mercury 5s in one week of solid working, and the end result was fantastic. His expertise in mechanical aspects was crucial in the team’s performance at FSGP 2016, and he served as a driver for FSGP/ASC 2016. Although he is now graduated, he wishes the team the best of luck in their future endeavors. 

Jim Dunham

Jim has been the shop advisor for the team since it was founded in 2005, and along the way he has learned a great deal but also taught many students. He is an expert machinist and a wizard with CAD software, making him a great asset to the team. Jim is well known for taking new members of the team and giving them their first formal project. He is also the person who does almost all of the design work for every element of this car, and without him this team would not be as rock solid mechanically as it has been. Although he works hard, he also lightens the mood in the shop by baking cookies quite often in a toaster oven he keeps down in the shop.


Illinois State University
Campus Box 4560
Normal, Illinois 61761