World Solar Challenge: Day 3 wrap

Here is another distance/time plot for non-trailered Challenger class cars. Race leaders Twente (21) and Nuon (3) are so close that the orange line is hidden under the red – it will come down to race strategy and managing the weather issues. Michigan (2) is next in blue (still suffering the curse of third), followed by Tokai (10). Punch (8) served a one-hour penalty in Kulgera for alleged reckless driving by their media car. They are appealing this, and are also clawing back lost time, as the dark green line shows. Next come Stanford (16), Kecskemét (23), Arrow (30), EAFIT (5), and Western Sydney Uni (13). UKZN (14) and Blue Sky (77) have been duelling for the next spot, and it looks like the dashed line for UKZN is just a whisker ahead now. After them come Goko High Scool (25) in black, Jönköping Uni (46), Nagoya (47), Kanazawa (51), Principia (32), Anadolu (36), KUST (82), MIT (7), and Beijing (80).

Sadly, Adelaide (9) report having trailered. Some of the other cars listed might have trailered too. For example, the way that MIT (7) keeps driving after 17:00 suggests that they might have trailered.

For the Cruiser situation, see my previous post. In other news, Bochum are spending the night in a gym, while Nuon are camping in the dust. For photos galore, see MostDece’s blog, and for video, see Twente’s (Dutch) report. The Coober Pedy weather forecast for tomorrow is for cloud clearing.

Below is the kind of chart I did in 2013 (as always, click to zoom). Data is taken from the official timing board, rather than from GPS. Here the distance is horizontal, and the vertical axis expresses time. Specifically, it expresses how many hours each car is behind a car driving at exactly 97.42 km/h. Why that speed? It’s the speed which would get a car into Adelaide at exactly closing time on Wednesday. None of the actual Challengers can quite manage that, of course, so they will all arrive later. The expected arrival times on Thursday and Friday can be estimated by extrapolating to the right-hand axis. This means that, for this chart, faster cars are at the bottom. It must be emphasised that the official timing board may contain errors – for example, Western Sydney (13) is recorded on the official timing board as arriving at Katherine at 05:43:55 hours into the race, while my GPS-based chart for Sunday shows it arriving much earlier.


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5 thoughts on “World Solar Challenge: Day 3 wrap

    • They had a battery fire and trailered the car. However, many teams in Alice Springs helped them with repairs, and they plan to keep racing from Alice.

      In an earlier post, I said “It is worth noting that there are now effectively two races going on – call them A and B. The A race is decided on time (or, for the Cruiser class, points). The B race is for cars that have been trailered, and is decided on number of kilometres travelled under solar power. At the end of the event, the A cars will all score ahead of the B cars (in 2013, the top B Challenger scored 11th overall).” Usually, about half the cars wind up in the B race.

      EcoPhoton are now in the B race, but there is no good data on what the rankings are for the B cars. The B cars are essentially racing the clock, trying to visit as many control stops as possible before closing time (to avoid trailerign again).

  1. Great work again from the Wizard of R of Oz! I love those graphics even though they can be a little skewed here or there because of the official timings and the way the trackers are implemented.
    Very visible from the last graph is how much the top 5 stand apart and how big the differences in the entire field really are.
    Wondering why Stanford has not been able to compete in the frontrunner group after their performance 2 years ago. With the quality and results Megalux is showing now we can be sure they will be among the favourites in 2017 when they can integrate their rookie experiences in a new car.
    Special is that Punch is doing extremely well in catching up after their 1 hour time penalty. Where will they be if it is decided overnight that the 1 hour penalty should be cancelled? If they are indeed 92 kms behind Twente and they are driving at around 95 kms/hr? They have been doing an extra hour of static charging alright, but any team could have done that. Or have they now drained their battery so far in the ultimate effort to get back to the leaders that they will pay for that on Day 4? Keep a keen eye out for them.
    And I do expect that both Tokai and Michigan will push one more time to make those Dutchies very nervous.
    Looking forward to it!

    • Megalux is certainly doing great, and without that penalty Punch might have won. Stanford always shows great promise, but never quite gets it together.

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