For two weeks in May, EcoCAR 3 teams will come together for the Year Four Competition. One of the main highlights will be the chance for students to show off their vehicles at the Auto Club Speedway (ACS) in Fontana, California. The track regularly hosts NASCAR races, holds over 100,000 spectators, and will be an ideal setting to round out the finale to the EcoCAR 3 program. The team’s vehicles will be at their peak stage as students have worked tirelessly over the years to perfect and bring the Camaros’ to a 99% buy off – an automotive industry term that indicates when a vehicle is ready to go into production. The two days at the Speedway will feature judged events including Consumer Appeal, Acceleration & Braking, as well as an Autocross.
The Acceleration & Braking event is set to run on Pit Lane of the Speedway and will test how quickly the vehicles accelerate from 0-60 mph, how quickly it can come to a complete stop in a controlled manner, and within a distance that is as short as possible. This event will have a student driver from each team, with a professional General Motors driver who will observe in the passenger seat.
The Speedway’s Interior Road Course will feature the Autocross event and the 16 Camaros will be put through a designed obstacle course in an effort to make the quickest time. This track will test the vehicle’s dynamic handling ability through a timed autocross-style course in order to test balance and stability at higher than average maneuvering speeds. The vehicle must navigate a coned course as fast as possible in order to post a competitive time, while remaining under the control of an experienced General Motors driver.
The final judged category, also on the Interior Road Course, is the Consumer Appeal Event. Judges will assume the role of a perspective customer and will perform a ‘test drive’ to evaluate all aspects of the vehicle, just like a perspective consumer would at a dealership preparing to purchase a new car. The test includes judging the cockpit, gauges, displays, infotainment features, as well as the exterior of the vehicle and basic driving features.
The Auto Club Speedway was developed by Roger Penske and opened in 1997. There have been 26 NASCAR Monster Cup races run at ACS, and the only driver to compete in all of them is Jeff Gordon. The Speedway has also appeared in many feature films, including the second “Terminator”, “Charlies’ Angles” in 2000 and “The Bucket List” in 2007.
For more information on the EcoCAR 3 Track Day, make sure to follow the blog as we announce additional details.