Day 17: Ready to Rayce!

G’day mate,

We’ve passed scrutineering! After a full day of inspection, Impulse has been declared ready for the Saturday dynamic testing for the Veolia World Solar Challenge.

The scrutineering facility, and the largest air condition facility in the southern hemisphere.

Scrutineering took place on Thursday in the Darwin Convention center, which is apparently the largest air conditioned room in the Southern Hemisphere. The cool air was a welcome relief after the many hot days at the track.

The Veolia World Solar Challenge Trophy

We went through eight different stations at scrutineering. First, all of our team members got some cool participant badges that we must wear throughout the race. Our car is now emblazoned with some brand new WSC logos from the badging station, the first on our trek around the arena. The second station we visited was Measurement. At this station the scrutineers took the dimensions of the array and the car size. The third station was to ensure the capability of the driver to easily get in and out of the vehicle. This station required that each of our four drivers were able to get into the vehicle in fifteen seconds, had the full capabilities of their head to turn, and were able to exit the vehicle in fifteen second as well. They also tested Impulse’s reverse capability.

Battery Inspection

Moving around to the next station was visibility testing. At this station the turn signals and brake lights were ensured to be visible from a distance. The rear view camera also had to give the driver a cone of visibility of around 40 degrees. The labeling station, which was next, ensured that every car was properly labeled. This kind of labeling includes a towing point, high voltage decals to warn of high voltage areas on the vehicle, and marking to show how to get the driver out in the case of an emergency. This station caused us a little bit of trouble. We were missing labels describing how to open our hatch. This was an easy fix, and we moved past this station. The next two stations, Electrical and Batteries take a look at our documentation and electrical systems to verify that they are properly wired and no live wires are exposed to endanger the driver or anyone around the car. At the battery station several small cables were installed inside of our battery box to make sure that we do not modify or charge them during the race. At the final station our vehicle was examined by several officials from the Australian Department of Motor Vehicles. They took down various details of Impulse for registration in the Northern Territories and South Australia, the two states we will drive through. After passing this station Impulse was signed off and we were officially certified as ready for dynamic scruitineering!

Impulse flying around the Hidden Valley Raceway

You’ll notice that we’re missing day 15, Wednesday. That’s because we spent the entire day on the track without any problems. Our four drivers tried to put on as much track time as possible for both driver experience and data gathering. From this data we have developed a strategy and found a cruising speed for Impulse coming down Stuart Highway. Our cruising speed has been tentatively set from the conditions in Darwin. If this speed turns out to be sustainable for the majority of the race CalSol will be rolling into Adelaide around mid-day on Saturday!

Nicole is dremeling the rear fairing to fix the tire-rubbing problem.

Today was a quiet day at the racetrack. Most of the teams were off at scrutineering, and CalSol was enjoying a small amount of reprieve from the hard work. We spent a couple of hours on the track experimenting with different tire pressure, the mechanical team cut out some parts of the shell to prevent tire damage.

Tomorrow is Saturday and dynamic testing. Dynamic testing requires one of our drivers to put Impulse through a full battery of tests to verify that it is road ready. The three tests are as follows: the first is a qualifying lap, in which the vehicle pulls the fastest lap it can to qualify for the race and starting position. The second test is a slalom test. The driver threads impulse through a line of cones, carefully passing around each cone in a given amount of time. The third and final test is a brake tests, requiring the driver to stop as quickly as possible and within a certain distance. Passing these three tests will qualify Impulse for the race and allow us to participate in the Veolia World Solar Challenge. As an added bonus we will be given a snazzy new temporary license plate specific to the Veolia World Solar Challenge participants!

Wish us luck in dynamic testing and the Veolia World Solar Challenge! More updates to come!

The team took a break Friday morning to take a team picture. 🙂