Monday, July 14, 2008

First days of the race

Yeah, I know this video is anti-climatic at best, but it was the best "drive-by" footage we have so far. Just so I can prove to everyone that the car is doing its thing.

A lot has happened since the previous update. I last posted when we passed scrutineering, but since then we have completed qualifying, and we are now on day two of the race itself. That was the last 4-5 days in a nutshell, now for the details.

Last Thursday and Friday were the days set aside for qualifying. The main reason that we were at the Texas Motorsport Rance was because we used their track for this event. Every team had to complete 60 laps of the 1.7 mile circuit, with every driver doing at least 15 laps. On Thursday we were able to get Scott and me qualified, with not too many problems. We had to pit a couple of times to problem solve some issues, but we were able to find the solutions needed to make the repairs.

On day two of qualifying, we started the day by charging in the morning sun, then we continued to race the circuit for about 40 more laps. We then called it a day so that we could continue to make repairs and adjustments to the car. By the end of the day we found out that we qualified for the fifth starting position.

Saturday was a busy day. Even though we were done with qualifying, we had to show off the car in a showcase of all the teams that was open to the public. And we knew after that we had to get race-ready for early Sunday morning. The showcase was fun yet exhausting. Our tent blew over early in the morning and was too damaged to use. So a hot day in the Texas sun in a parking lot without any shade really took a number on us. After that was all over, we had a long night ahead. We set up shop in the parking lot outside our hotel, and then set to work to make repairs. It took a while and a lot of work was accomplished, especially on the electrical side of things, and we ended up going to sleep around three in the morning.

Being in attendance on the first day of the race on Sunday was a gratifying experience to say the least. Every team was set off one minute apart, and it was soon after we were off that the roads were cluttered with solar cars. Unfortunately for everyone, we had our first overcast day since coming to Texas. Running the car in highways that called for 40mph minimums plus barely getting any sunlight to the array resulted in us ending our day about an hour and a half early, as our battery was simply too drained to continue running.

Today is now day two of the race. We’ve set off early this morning, and we have held on steady throughout the day. We took it slow to make up for all the battery power we lost on day one, but by the time we got to our destination we had recharged a large portion of our battery pack. At our stage stop we met up with other solar teams on a college campus parking lot that was open to the public. Tomorrow, we'll all set off at 9 a.m. with all the other teams, and we'll keep on doing what we've been doing, and hope for some strong sun!


Bianca said...

Whoo-hoo UK Solar Car team!!!!

I helped start the original team (Stephens will remember) and I am so excited for you guys! Keep up the good work and remember to recharge your own batteries as well as the cars :-D

speernuts said...

Awesome car. Saw it on the news tonight. What is with Mr. Nick Such not letting me know he was in town. Mr. Speer is not happy with you, Nick. What a great student you were and to do such an awesome race. Makes me proud to know I was honored to teach you. Thanks and good luck!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Mr. Speer-Nick wasn't there very long. Hang in there solar car team! Here are some links to the Omaha videos.

Anonymous said...

More links to solar car coverage:

USA Today:



Kerri said...

you guys are doing awesome :) mom says hi too :)