The picture says it all. Passing scrutineering yesterday and fixing the little glitches in our array left Impulse in 100% working order and ready to fly onto the track this morning. Today has been a wonderful day with beautiful weather and everyone’s spirits are high with Impulse out on the track.
Now that the day has begun, there are two things we are keeping in mind; American Solar Challenge Qualification and correctly budgeting our tires. Qualification is a tricky affair in the grand scheme of things. The first part of it is to qualify all three of our drivers, Alex, Jack, and Derek. Each of those drivers needs to complete 25 laps around Monticello’s track to be able to drive during the 1650 mile road race. In addition, Impulse must complete at least 105 laps during one day, or 160 across two consecutive days. For a lot of teams, those requirements are difficult. Do they drive quickly, burning battery power and tires with reckless abandon to hit the 105 laps, or do they drive more slowly, conserving energy to make sure they can compete all three days?
Fortunately, that’s not a problem for us. We got on the track today at 9:15am. Its now 2:27pm and we’re up to 82 laps. We’re well on our way to qualifying and our battery state of charge has not dropped below 95%. That’s fantastic, as the only limiting factor on our speed is the quantity of tires.
Speaking of tires, we’ve changed two of them now. As we expected, the track here at Monticello Motor Club is eating through tires like CalSol eats Peanut Butter and Jelly – way too quickly. As I understand it, the extremely grippy pavement and the constant turns (12 turns each time around) is awful on the tires. In addition, we only have 4 tires that can bear the rear load of our car. If things continue this way, we will be just fine, but its still on our minds.
After we qualify, the team has some discussion on our hands. if we aren’t burning tires as quickly as we feared, or if there’s a particular team we want to beat, then we’ll continue tomorrow, even faster than before. If not, then we’ll take it slow to limit the amount of wear and tear that Impulse experiences before the beginning of the American Solar Challenge.
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