Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Work at Cresson MotorSport Ranch

Our first full day at the Cresson MotorSport ranch saw us wake up early to simulate a morning charge. Set up in a grassy field between the garages and the race track, our team was the lone team at the track besides Durham University. While Australian race regulations permitted the team to start charging at sunrise, North American race regulations keep the team's battery locked and impounded from 8:00 PM until 6:30 AM. Therefore, as much as we enjoyed waking up at 4:30 in Australia to charge, we had to wait until 5:15 AM to wake up.
Charging in the morning

During the morning charge, we took the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the facilities while eating breakfast. Most importantly, team members had the opportunity to shower without having to wait for 20 other teams.
Camp at MotorSport Ranch

Following our morning charge, we took advantage of the empty lot to drive Continuum around for a few tests. Although the track at the ranch remains closed to solar car teams and support vehicles until Wednesday, we did have time to watch track members drive around the 3.1-mile road course. In great contrast to most of the race route, the track at the MotorSport ranch provides for a number of hills and curves. The track should be quite a challenge for most teams, as the elevation changes and camber of the turns both require a lot of extra horsepower--something no team here has. On Thursday and Friday, teams will have a chance to complete as many laps as possible around the track for the race's pole position--it should be quite interesting to see all the cars on the track at once!

In the afternoon, team members made runs to pick up some items that were needed at the track, as well as picking up a team member from the airport, Chris Hilger. Chris, who has been working on procurement of materials for the 2009 car, will be serving as an observer for the race. When John Federspiel, Sarah Napier, and Chris left the airport, they were able to pick up some titanium that will become part of our 2009 vehicle, Infinium. Thanks to S R Sales Co, near Fort Worth, for sponsoring the team and allowing us to obtain titanium for our next vehicle.
Sarah and John with Marty from SR Sales

In the afternoon, race officials and other teams began to arrive at the ranch, filling the parking lot with a variety of solar cars, trailers, and support vehicles. After months of hard work spent preparing Continuum for the race after Australia, it was a good change seeing all the other teams that have been working hard to ready their vehicles as well.
Teams set up at the ranch

Once all the officials had arrived, our team filled out registration papers and completed driver weigh-in. For NASC, drivers weighing under 80 kg (176 lbs) must carry extra ballast to even out the playing field. Our drivers took very deep breaths while on the scale, but in the end, both were forced to carry quite a bit of extra weight.

In the evening, many teams continued work on their vehicles, while others settled down for the night. While some teams left the ranch for the night, those who remained returned to their tents around the track. We went to bed, preparing for Monday's first set of scrutineering tests.



Blogger Brian Ignaut said...

Go Blue! See you this weekend!

July 8, 2008 at 7:51 PM  

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