Armstrong Student Fueled for Success at International Supermileage Competition
Lucas Priem’s interest in small engines started with even smaller cars.
“I had a million little Matchbox cars,” the Armstrong High School senior told CCX News. “So the car craze just kind of grew from there.”
That interest stuck with him into high school. He jumped at the chance to join Armstrong’s Supermileage Club, which builds cars to race in fuel efficiency contests.
“I joined the car class thinking, ‘hey, it’s something fun to do — I like cars,'” Priem said. “It’s somewhat relieving, getting away from sitting in a classroom all day.”
According to school officials, Priem has led both as a driver on the racetrack and as a student in the classroom.
“Lucas is willing to help anyone understand what’s going on with the process of building that vehicle,” said Erick Norby, the principal at Armstrong High School. “If there’s someone that doesn’t understand something, he’s willing to help those students get to that next level.”
So with a scratch-built car and Priem at the steering wheel, the supermileage team took first place at the Shell Eco-marathon Americas event this spring.
“I can’t even describe how I was feeling,” Priem told CCX News in June. “It was crazy. I was just, like, I was shocked. Still am.”
Following the win, Priem and the supermilage team went off to India to compete in a global competition in October. Priem was the team’s only driver.
“We took fifth overall,” he said. “The competition gets intense at times.”
The Armstrong team was the highest-ranked high school team in the contest, managing the vehicle’s fuel consumption at 440.6 miles per gallon.
“The rest were colleges that have a ton of money into these cars,” Priem said.
But for Priem, the contest wasn’t just about winning.
“The cultural experience is well worth it,” he said. “I would say that I was being as observant as possible to everybody’s situation, how people drive there, live, and just like their daily routines.”
The first full year of Priem’s journey with the supermilage team has come to an end. But the team will compete again later this school year with the global contest being held in Indonesia.
According to Priem, the team is “going to try [to] build an electric car, so I hope to learn how that one works.”
He expects to be back in the driver’s seat.
“Hopefully [we’ll] place top four again so we can go to Indonesia,” Priem said.