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Automotive students, faculty compete in ‘Green Grand Prix’


Twenty-seven members of the Penn College Motorsports Association participated in Friday’s 15th annual Toyota Green Grand Prix, which promotes innovation in sustainable transportation technologies while launching the season-opening weekend at New York’s renowned Watkins Glen International racetrack.

Van Stavoren (left) and victorious students celebrate their success.
Van Stavoren (left) and victorious students celebrate their success.

Thomas M. Hill, an automotive technology management student from Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, and Christopher H. Van Stavoren, assistant professor of automotive technology and club adviser, competed with a college-owned Toyota Prius while other students in teams of two competed with personal vehicles.

Green Grand Prix“The competition is a combination of a fuel mileage and driver (lap time) consistency,” Van Stavoren said. “We drove around the Watkins Glen International speedway for two hours and attempted to maintain an average speed of 45 mph (a 1:15 lap time) while using as little fuel as possible.”

After the driver’s challenge – held in a trifecta of cold, snow and ice – students competed with the Prius and several other cars in the autocross event.

Among the students’ accomplishments:

  • Owen S. Yetter, of Selinsgrove, won best mpg for a modified V6
  • Hunter S. Guyer, of Fayetteville, had the best time in the autocross exhibition class
  • Puddles and jackets readily indicate the day's less-than-ideal racing conditions for the college contingent and fellow competitors.
    Puddles and jackets readily indicate the day’s less-than-ideal racing conditions for the college contingent and fellow competitors.

    Richard M. Wierzbicki-McMickle, of Port Jervis, N.Y., won best mpg for a modified five-cylinder gas engine

  • Hayden A. Straub, of Lewisburg, placed first in the modified four-cylinder gas mileage road rally
  • Andrew M. Baylor, of Pittston, was first in the exhibition class for the gas mileage road rally
  • Po-Ju Sung, of Taiwan, won first prize in stock four-cylinder diesel
  • Thomas M. Hill won the Prius Challenge Gen 3 (52.5 mpg)
Penn College's Toyota Prius was among the competitive vehicles in the Green Grand Prix.
Penn College’s Toyota Prius was among the competitive vehicles in the Green Grand Prix.

Guyer, Straub and Yetter are enrolled in information technology: network specialist concentration; Wierzbicki-McMickle is an automotive technology management student; Baylor majors in heavy construction equipment technology: operator emphasis; and Sung (who earned a degree in heavy construction equipment technology: Caterpillar equipment emphasis last year) is an applied management student.

Photos provided

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