Sunday, October 21, 2007

Continuum Repairs

Race officials have been working with us to ensure that all Team members are safe after the accident and there has been a lot of immediate support from both race officials and locals. Coming out of this impact, our lead vehicle actually shows more sign of damage than Continuum itself. The rear hatch has been forced in to the point where it is non-functional. Thanks to proper race caravaning, the crash was less severe than it could have been considering the vehicles were forced to brake from 70 km/hr.

Fortunately, in crashing Continuum performed exactly as designed. The crush space protected the driver entirely and components failed as predicted, a tribute to the amazing designs. Meanwhile, Spencer Bailey, the driver of Continuum, has walked away with only a single scratch and a bruise from the seat belt. During the collision his head didn’t even hit the roll bar.

The Continuum Race Crew has moved to a garage at the Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin and within a matter of hours has begun work on Continuum. Damaged modules have been removed, composites are being reinforced, components are being replaced with spares, and preparations for the new array are underway. There is a flurry of activity around the lower surface since it is the most complex and structural part of Continuum. Parts are being repaired, making them even stronger than before the accident without much added weight. The pace of work is quick and the final time for completion will be largely limited by the curing time for resins and epoxies rather than the energy of students working on Continuum. Ultimately, everything looks like it can be repaired.

Even after all of this we are all confident that at 8am tomorrow morning Continuum will be back on the road and operating the way it was designed. We started this race as a world class team and we plan to finish this race as a world class team.



Anonymous TC Lambert said...

We fans are all extremely confident this team of brilliant engineers will fix Continuum's crash damage and get back on the road (with perhaps a little more following distance maintained during driving). This will be quite a story to tell future generations of Wolverine solar car racers.

Team Nuon's blog says their protest is about "shingling," that is, partial overlapping of solar cells. Michigan worked very closely with race officials throughout the design process. No doubt they can thoroughly document the decision and permission process they went through before finalizing the array design. Of course, that may not matter after the crash.

We don't know yet what kind of time penalty the crash will result in. However it turns out, Michigan can still run the race as fast as possible and try to set unofficial records, if only for the pride of the team.

Go fast, go smooth, leave sufficient room for emergency braking, go blue!

-TC Lambert

October 21, 2007 at 4:21 AM  
Anonymous Michael Brackney said...


I echo Furqan's relief that everyone is safe.

This team has overcome obstacle after obstacle; this is a setback but do not let this bring you down. You have much to be proud of.

I'm reminded of a a speech given by Lloyd Carr. I believe this was after a game where we came back in the second half and won (in true Michigan spirit). He spoke about how true Michigan teams excel when they are down. This is not the end of the race -- Keep your heads high, be safe and keep pushing.

Go Fast, Go Smooth and GO BLUE!

Michael Brackney
2005 Momentum

October 21, 2007 at 4:39 AM  
Blogger yodamom said...

This is a very sad turn of events. Thank goodness no one was hurt. We can not even imagine how heartbreaking this is for all of you. We do know that it is times like these that we really find out what we are made of. What one does to overcome adversity is truly character defining. Hearing that you are doing whatever it takes to get Continuum back on course is inspiring. You are truly a WORLD CLASS team.

So nothing has changed. We are still so very proud of you. You define what it means to...GO BLUE!

PS: Someone reach over and give Garrick a BIG hug from his MOM. Love you!

October 21, 2007 at 8:35 AM  

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