Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Update from Hidden Valley

Three major activities make up race qualifications for the world solar challenge: technical scrutineering, dynamic scrutineering, and track qualifications. The first two validate safety and compliance with regulations and the third helps determine the starting order for the 38-vehicle race pack. Whereas each team is assigned a specific time slot over Thursday and Friday for technical scrutineering, all dynamic tests and track qualifiers will take place on Saturday at the Hidden Valley Raceway. Continuum will undergo technical scrutineering tomorrow afternoon at 2:00pm and we’ll begin dynamic scrutineering and track qualifiers at 7:00am on Saturday. These are the very last hurdles that we have to clear before we’re ready to race in WSC 2007.

Above: view of garage spaces and pit lane

Above: the parking lot is packed with vehicles, trailers, and solar cars

Hidden Valley Raceway is filling up quickly as the last handful of teams arrive at their garages. There have been up to 7 vehicles on the track at once working out bugs and whittling down lap times. Thanks to the introduction of new regulations for the 2007 race, we’re seeing an impressive variety of vehicle designs and configurations.

Here's a quick glimpse of what's on the track:

Above: Team Sinag (Philippines) and Helios (France)

Above: Oxyride

Above: Solarworld (Germany)

Above: Solarworld from rear

Above: Umicore (Belgium)

Above: Twente (Netherlands)

Above: Twente's array with Fresnel concentrators

Above: Aurora's new challenge class car (Australia)

Above: Aurora also brought back their 1987/1990 vehicle

Above: Aviva Southern Aurora is racing the 1999 Aurora vehicle (Australia)

We’re fortunate to be part of such a large and competitive race pack for the 20th anniversary of this amazing race.




Blogger jose said...

Hi guys,

It looks like there is quite a varied group of raycers out there. Other than Twente, are there any other teams running with concentrators?

Good Luck and Go Blue!

Jose Alvarez
97 & 99 Solar Car Team

October 17, 2007 at 10:59 AM  
Anonymous russ said...

Wow, I still get goose bumps looking at pictures from Hidden Valley.

Best of luck in qualy!

Russ Moerland
97, 99 & 01 Solar Car Team :-)

October 17, 2007 at 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Joe B said...

Hey Spencer and Paula,
The lap record for a michigan team is 2:01 and change. See how you can stack up but don't pull an MIT.
Joe Belter

October 17, 2007 at 7:56 PM  
Blogger Brian Ignaut said...


Twente is the the only other team running concentrators this race. Their system uses Fresnel lenses (flat lenses made of thin sheets of textured plastic) to focus light onto high efficiency cells. Definitely a great design and a great car to boot.


October 18, 2007 at 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

I'm interested in a little info about the competition- are those silicon cells on Aurora's car? Where do they fit that driver in the challenge regs?

What have people's reactions been to the new concentrator system?

You have a ton of people here at home cheering for you. Keep it safe on the track!

Chris Churchill

October 18, 2007 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Brian Ignaut said...


Aurora is using the latest generation of Sunpower silicon solar cells. Not only are they more efficient, but they also feature smaller cropped corners than previous Sunpower cells. Their car is indeed a challenge class vehicle and they have by far the sleekest body of any CC car at the WSC.

The concentrators have drawn a lot of positive attention from people at the track. The most frequently asked question is whether they work. The answer: yes. It's great to see all our hard work pay off.

Thanks for all the great feedback!


October 19, 2007 at 9:17 AM  
Anonymous TC Lambert said...

Aurora's car does look sleek. They even made it aerodynamic from the sides. Silicon solar cells? I thought the top teams all used Gallium Arsenide. After the race, somebody explain the advantages and disadvantages.

Great pictures, great blog. I'm checking Stanford's blog, too. They have an Adventure class car that could give America another chance to win.

I'm getting so excited, I've taken to listening to early Beatles while checking the blogs. You know, the fast, energetic music that made fans jump up and scream.

Go fast, go smooth, take the pole position!

-TC Lambert (UM '79, Doug's dad)

PS. I'm taking encouragement from the fact that Doug shaved. It's as if he thinks he should look good for post-race photos.

October 19, 2007 at 5:26 PM  

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