Day 6 of FSGP – CalSol finishes first!

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And we won!

After 3 days, 228 laps and 775 miles driven, CalSol has emerged First in the Formula Sun Grand Prix 2017!

The team with Zephyr after clinching first!

This is the best result that Zephyr has achieved during her 4 years of racing (2014 – 2017). Aside from winning FSGP, Zephyr has also broken several COTA track records, including most number of laps in a day (82). As a team, CalSol also won the Best Teamwork Award for outstanding performance as a team.

This race also represents a validation of the effort and passion put into CalSol by the team members. With that being said, we will not be where we are without the immense help of our sponsors and the school. These amazing results will not have been possible without such help!

Zephyr crosses the finish line at first place!

We cannot think of a better way to retire Zephyr. For now, we will be focusing on developing our 9th-Generation Cruiser Class (2-seater) vehicle, Tachyon. Look forward to more exciting stuff from us!

Day 5 of FSGP – Raycing Day 2

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Pit crew doing a tire change

Another day on COTA. CalSol started Day 2 from the pits after diagnosing some electrical problems during the morning solar charge. After a quick fix, we were back on track!

Making up lost time, the team balanced a strategy of conserving charge and maintaining a fast pace. To burn off excess charge and push the limits of Zephyr and our driver, we did several “hot laps” throughout the day. During one of the hot laps, our driver Elizabeth Li clocked the fastest lap of the race at 05:02:291. This timing is also the personal best timing for Zephyr on the Circuit of the Americas.

Zephyr on a hot lap at COTA

Making good time with the reliable car, CalSol managed to end the day at pole position with 1 more day of racing to go.

Race standings after Day 2 of circuit racing

We look forward to the last day of racing and a great end to an amazing week!

Day 4 of FSGP – Raycing!

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Rayce Day.

Preparing the car before the race start

Day 4 of FSGP is the first day of circuit racing at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA). The race format is as follows: over the span of 3 days, the team with the most number of laps completed is deemed to be the winner of the race.

Zephyr passing corner 15 in the COTA

Teams are given a full charge on Day 1 and have to rely purely on solar energy for subsequent charging of the packs over the next 3 days. At the end of Day 1 after 8 hours of racing(10am to 6pm), Zephyr completed 72 laps with a total distance of 244.8 miles traveled. This stellar result places us at 2nd position, only 1 lap behind the race leader at the end of Day 1.

Throughout the day, there were certain strategic decisions to be made. These decisions included when to speed up/slow down and the timing of the pit stops. Rotating all 3 drivers, CalSol did a total of 3 smooth pit stops. Here is a POV of one of the pit crew members during a pit stop:

Pit Stop FSGP 2017

Ever wonder what it's like to be part of the pit crew for Zephyr at #FSGP2017? Here's a video of a tire change and driver swap we did this afternoon. Race hours for today are done, and Zephyr held at first place for most of the day. Check live race updates here: https://racehero.io/…/formula-sun-grand-prix-2017-2017-circ…. Go Bears! (Make sure to hit the HD button)
#gopro #berkeleyPOV

Posted by CalSol – UC Berkeley Solar Vehicle Team on Thursday, July 6, 2017

Before entering the circuit again for another day of racing, the teams are given 4 precious hours for statically charging the solar array: 6pm – 8pm on the day itself and 8am – 10am the next morning. These crucial hours act as valuable time to maintain a good battery charge for the next segment of the race.

Going into Day 5, the team is definitely pressured to keep up these results but we’re hoping to perform as well if not better!

Day 3 of FSGP 2017

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Team photo right after passing all our scrutineering tests

And we are all GREEN!

CalSol ended Day 2 with a high, successfully passing all scrutineering tests with greens. This included passing the dynamics test like the slalom test below:

Passing these tests makes us track eligible for the circuit segment of FSGP on Thursday.

Free of any tests on Day 3 (Wednesday), we seized the opportunity to prepare ourselves for the next 3 days of grueling circuit racing.

At the crack of dawn, the early crew set up and tested the solar array. Potentially spending up to 24 hours on the track over the next 3 days, having a reliable and efficient solar array is crucial for success at the race.

The early crew testing out the solar array

After the daily team meeting, the team went for a road test at the COTA facility, further simulating race conditions in the scorching heat.

The team discussing race strategy

With all these preparations, the team is hyped up for the the first day of circuit racing tomorrow. GO BEARS!

Day 2 of FSGP 2017

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Zephyr waiting for a scrutineering station

The first few stages of FSGP went really well for CalSol, passing all static scruntineering stations with greens. This includes the daunting Electrical, Battery Protection System and Mechanical scrutineering tests. Making minor adjustments on-the-fly, the team managed to convert all yellows to greens within a short period of time.

The team preparing Zephyr for mechanical testing

The next challenge for the team will be the dynamics test. This includes braking and handling tests – tests which often make-or-break teams (literally). Zephyr will be required to maneuver around tight boundaries and a demanding braking test.

Zephyr proceeding for dynamic testing

We wish everyone the best of luck with this phase!

Greetings from Austin, Texas!

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All smiles as Zephyr rolls into our FSGP garage

After a 4 day journey from California to Texas, Zephyr has arrived at the Circuit of the Americas; primed and ready for the Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP) 2017. Throughout the next week, Zephyr will undergo 3 days of intense scrutineering by race officials before hitting the track and racing other teams.

Registration was extremely smooth for the entire competition, where all teams were registered and loaded by 10am – the start of the team briefings.

Doing final checks on Zephyr the night before FSGP

The teams were briefed on logistics of the race, including trivia that teams will be spending more time on the COTA track than F1 drivers. As such, solar car drivers will technically “know the track better”.

Afterwards, teams were informed about the importance of safety measures. This included the risk of battery fires and heat exhaustion with the high temperatures in Austin, Texas.

A quick team meeting before breaking out into work groups

As we await scrutineering, the team will be doing final checks to ensure that Zephyr will pass the scrutineering checks with flying colors.

Lastly, we will like to thank the numerous sponsors for making this race possible and we hope to do everyone proud!