US Race Rules

The goal of the Horizon Hydrogen Automotive Challenge (H2AC) is to provide hydrogen fuel cell and automotive design experience to high school students.  During the H2AC student teams design, construct and drive a 1:10 scale remote controlled (RC) car, powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology.  Cars are judged on design, construction and performance.  Each team’s effort is focused toward the final event – a six hour endurance track race where the best design, construction and driving techniques will pay off with the win!!

Team Eligibility

Teams are made up of 2 – 8 students enrolled for the current school year in grades 9, 10, 11 or 12.  Teams of students from public, private or official home school associations are welcome to participate.  Teams from non-school based groups (i.e. scouts, 4H, community groups, etc.) are also welcome to participate; however, members from these teams may not come from a school that also has a team participating in the H2AC.  Teams are selected by an application process and required to sign a Team Commitment form.

Car Parameters

The dimensions of the H2AC car cannot exceed:

  •           220 mm in width
  •           470 mm in length
  •           150 mm in height
  •           5 mm minimum ground clearance

Each vehicle must have a space on both sides large enough to display a 3cm x 3cm number decal.

Each entry begins construction with a kit provided by Horizon Fuel Cells Americas, Inc. containing everything required to build the car. Some parts may be modified at the team’s discretion; however, the fuel cell, hydrostik, H-Cell 2.0, control panel, and the motor may not be modified, changed or enhanced.  Modifications to any of these parts will result in disqualification.

Modifications to the other parts are permitted.  These modifications must be documented on the Design Process Form, and any modification that costs in excess of $50.00 must be offset by sponsorship and/or fundraising and that is listed on the Design Process Form.

The material for the body of the car can be any type of lightweight material.  The body may be purchased or fabricated by the team. A realistic spoiler is allowed if it is to scale.  It must not be higher than the roof of the car.  A high quality, professional looking finish on the body is requested.

If the wheels are modified or changed they may not exceed a diameter of 66mm or exceed a width of 26mm.

The car number is to be displayed on the two sides of the car and on a spot visible from the top of the car.  The number is to be a minimum of 2 inches tall and a minimum of 1” wide for the numeral ‘1’ and a minimum of 1 ½ inches wide for the remainder of the numerals.  (Note:  a two digit number such as the numeral ‘12’ would therefore have a minimum width of 2 ½ inches).  The race numbers will be assigned to the team by FSEC and may be either a decal or painted onto the car, and may match the overall design of the car in font and color.  Decals for event sponsors may be affixed to other areas of each car. Teams must integrate the Horizon and FSEC logos within their design as well; these decals will be provided to the teams.  All other areas of the body of the car are available for school and team identification.

An RFID (radio frequency identification) chip will be provided to you to allow your car’s laps on the track to be recorded.  It must be installed (using double-sided tape) horizontally onto the chassis near the front of the car.  It must be placed away from all radio components and aluminum or carbon parts of the chassis.

The vehicle must be safe to contestants, spectators and other vehicles (i.e. no sharp edges, etc.).

Failure to meet these expectations will result in disqualification..

Design Process Form

The Design Process Form must include a component list of all parts purchased for your vehicle, including the name of the supplier and the price of the part.  Additionally it must include any allowable modifications that cost in excess of $50.00, and the documentation of the sponsorship and fundraising to fund these modifications.  Additionally any outside (non-team member) labor (i.e. machine shop) must also be listed.

Poster Display

A poster-type display is required that showcases the team’s engineering and design decisions, problems encountered, solutions employed, results of vehicle testing and photos of the final car.  These poster board displays should be presented on a standard science fair type tri-fold display board, not to exceed 4 feet in height, 36 inches wide and 30 inches deep.  These will be on display and judged for the WOW! Award, which will be chosen by public vote during the Energy Whiz event at FSEC.

H2 Presentation

Each team is required to compete in the presentation part of the H2AC.  This is the chance for the teams to showcase their expertise, knowledge and talents that may not be obvious in the race.  The team’s presentation is to be a 2-3 minute video presentation on an aspect of one of these subjects:

  •           Hydrogen Generation
  •           Hydrogen Storage
  •           PEM Fuel Cells
  •           Hydrogen Infrastructure
  •           Potential Impact of Widespread Use of Hydrogen & Fuel Cells

Teams will be judged on content knowledge, creativity, and presentation skills.  Points will be deducted from a team’s presentation score for exceeding 5 minutes (excluding Q & A time).

Teams must send in one copy of the presentation to arrive at least 24 hours before competition day.  The team should also bring a back-up copy of the presentation with them.  The Florida Solar Energy Center is not responsible for any presentation that is lost in transit or that is unable to play on standard dvd players or with standard video software on IBM and Apple PCs.  All A/V compatibility issues must be discussed with event personnel prior to the day of the event.  All video presentations will become the property of Horizon Fuel Cell Americas, Inc. and the Florida Solar Energy Center.

Judging Criteria

  • Design Decisions–How well does the team understand energy efficient/green building design?  How well thought out are their design decisions? Was careful attention paid to parts selection and integration? Was proper attention paid to safety issues? How much energy has been saved? How was this calculated? What was the project cost or cost savings?
  • Construction Technique–How well did the students construct their design? Is the design durable?  Can the construction be altered to accommodate changing needs of the pet?
  • Design Function–How well does the design function according to team specified energy efficiency goals?  How well will it house the selected type of ‘critter’?
  • Suitability of Design –How is this a good habitat for your type of animal? (Be prepared to back up your answer with documentation such as notes from an industry expert interview or Internet research).
  • Delivered Message–How well is energy efficient building technology, green building practices and renewable energy represented both in the project and marketing?
  • Creativity of Design–How creative is the design? Is it a novel or interesting solution to a problem?
  • Marketing Materials–Do the marketing materials inspire interest or create demand for the product?

Design Judging

Teams must submit their cars for Design Judging by 6:30pm Friday evening.  Cars will be judged on vehicle design, craftsmanship, durability and innovation.

Cars will be impounded at Design Judging. Teams will pick up their cars after the completion of Design Judging (after H2Presentations & Friday Night Social), and carry them to their pit area where they will remain until race time. Cars may not be modified, fixed, or tweaked in any way between Design Judging and the start of the race. No practice runs will be permitted after Design Judging.

Vehicle Race

Race Parameters

The H2AC race is held inside a basketball gymnasium.  The track lanes are 5 ft. wide, with a configuration that includes both right-hand and left-hand turns.  The track surface is carpet. The official length of the track is approximately 90 meters.

Teams will be able to check out the racetrack the Friday evening from 5:00pm and 6:15pm. Each team may have up to 10 minutes of practice time on the track. This practice time is at the team’s risk, and no extra time before Design Judging will be given for a team to repair damage sustained during practice, nor will race officials be present.

Pole position will be determined by the combined team scores from the H2 Presentation and Design Judging, and be assigned the morning of the race.  Cars will be lined up in a staggered 2 wide configuration behind the starting line.  Pit areas will be determined by a draw on Friday evening.  Teams may not enter other teams pit areas.

To reduce the chance of injury from the cars, all team members are strongly advised to wear closed toe shoes.

Race Rules

The race will be proceeded by a ‘five minute’ a ‘three minute’ and a ‘one minute’ announcement.  All cars must be in the assigned starting spot, and all team members must clear the track and pit lane at the three minute warning.  Any cars not in place by the three minute warning may join the race from the team pit lane only after the race has started and the lead car has passed the pit lane.

The race may be started at any time after the one minute announcement to allow for clock timing; the one minute is not exact.  The start will be counted down from 10 seconds, and a green flag will be waived at the Start-Finish line.  Cars that move out of place before the green flag is waved will incur a 1 minute “stop, one-minute, go” penalty stop in the pit lane on the next lap.  No maintenance or refueling may occur during this penalty stop.

During the race it is the team’s responsibility to make pit stops whenever necessary.   A vehicle that quits running during the race for whatever reason must be handled by an official; team members may not enter the track area after the start of the race.  A car that must be retrieved for whatever reason will be picked up by the course marshal and placed on the outside perimeter of the track for a team member to pick up.  After retrieval the team will perform any required work at their designated table, releasing the car when completed into the pit lane at the team location.

Although course marshals will endeavor to enter and exit the track as quickly and safely as possible, it’s the responsibility of the other drivers to avoid officials that need to enter the track area. No compensation will be given to a car/team that sustains car damage by hitting or trying to avoid a course marshal.

Cars may make pit stops as required.  Cars entering/exiting the pit lane shall attempt to avoid race traffic.  There is no speed limit in the pit lane, however, passing a moving car in the pit lane is not allowed.  When a car enters pit lane it is to stop in front of the team pit table.  The current driver is then to lift the car and hand it to the team table for work.  When the car is ready, the current (or new) driver shall place the car back in the pit lane and drive to rejoin the race course.  If a pit-bound car fails to stop within the team pit space, it MAY NOT  be backed up, but must continue and stop on another lap.  A car that enters pit lane by mistake does not have to stop and may drive through and rejoin the race.

Pit lane violations will be subject to a 1 minute “stop, one-minute, go” penalty stop on the next lap.  No maintenance or refueling may occur during this penalty stop

All team members must drive a minimum of 20 minutes during the race; teams must enter the pits in order to change drivers.  Failure to comply will result in a 25 lap penalty.  Each team must signal to officials when a new driver is taking the wheel.

Cars that are driven recklessly, aggressively, or cause unnecessary crashes will result in a warning.

Cars that improperly enter or exit the pit area, or improperly exit or enter the track area will result in a warning.

Unprofessional and/or unsportsmanlike behavior (including language not suitable for a young audience) in the pit area and racetrack area by team members or coaches will result in a warning.

Teams that receive 2 warnings within an hour will incur a 3 minute “stop, three-minute, go” penalty pit stop.  However, no maintenance or refueling may occur during the penalty.

Teams may have a coach/expert in the pit area once during the race, for a maximum of 15 minutes to aid the team in repairs or adjustments. This will be signified by removal of their aid ‘flag’ from its stand. During all other times during the race, the only people allowed in a team’s pit area are the students on that specific team.

In the unlikely event that the race cars must be stopped (timing failure, an accident that blocks the course, etc.) a red flag will be waved, a “Red flag – Stop cars” announcement will be made.  All cars shall be stopped immediately and shall remain in place until the problem is resolved.  Cars that do not stop or otherwise gain advantage during the red flag will incur a 1 minute “stop, 1 minute, go” penalty that will be imposed after the race resumes.  Team members may not enter the course under a red flag.  No work may be done on cars except those already on the team pit table when the red flag is waved; once that work is complete those cars may be place in the team pit lane to await the race re-start.

To restart the race after a red flag, a one minute warning will be made to allow drivers to prepare; the race will resume by waiving the green flag.  Cars will continue from wherever they stopped with no pace lap or reformation required.

The race is won by the car that completes the most laps in 6 hours, minus the ‘missed driver’ penalty if applicable.  Each lap is counted when the car passes through the timing loop at the Start-Finish line.  No consideration will be made for partial laps gained or lost if a car leaves the course or is removed by a course marshal.  Cars are not required to be running at the finish to be classified.  The checkered flag will be waved to the current leader as the car crosses the Start-Finish line for the first time after the 6 hour time has expired.  Once cars cross the Start-Finish line after the waving of the checkered flag, they must stop and not complete any more laps.  A three minute period will be allowed after the waving of the checkered flag for cars to complete their final lap; this is to allow cars who are in the middle of a pit stop to reach the checkered flag.  Cars are to proceed to their pit areas after the completion of the race.

In the event that two or more cars complete the same number of laps, the car that crossed the Start-Finish line to complete that lap first shall be the winner.  In the event of a dead-heat finish, the winner shall be the car that started further back in the initial start, since it will have covered the further distance.  In the event that the checkered flag is not shown to the correct car or is shown more than one lap late, the race will be considered to have been completed when the scheduled time limit was reached and all cars distance will be the classified on the first lap they completed after the scheduled time.

All decisions of the H2AC judges and officials are final.