World Solar Challenge: Day 7

Today in the World Solar Challenge, the last few non-trailered teams came in, causing me to reflect on how poorly I’ve covered Principia (team 32, USA). They weren’t the fastest car, nor did they run into spectacular problems – they just reliably covered 3,022 km of outback driving.

See the chart above for other cars, and click to zoom (data in the chart is taken from the official timing board, with the most obviously wrong numbers removed, and with some numbers added from twitter photographs taken at control stops). The three remaining non-trailered Cruisers also arrived: Sunswift (team 75, Australia), Bochum (team 11, Germany – who drained their battery dry getting to end of timing last night), and Minnesota (team 35, USA – who made it to end of timing with three minutes to spare).

A large number of trailered cars also arrived. It will be impossible to rank these until the official results are released. Among the six trailered Cruisers were Lodz (team 45, Poland – their vehicle would make a great city car) and ITS (team 31, Indonesia – which has same national colours),

We also had the “practicality judging” for Cruisers today. Sadly, the results have not been released. In the absence of official results, I’m just going to hand out my own awards – the Scientific Gems “gem awards.” And the first of these is the sexy car gem, which goes to Bochum, for building the car that several hundred drooling engineers (even those who had successfully optimised their own vehicle for speed) wished that they had built. Bochum even had real wood inlays in the dashboard!


The “sexy car gem” goes to Bochum, for the ThyssenKrupp SunRiser


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7 thoughts on “World Solar Challenge: Day 7

  1. Thank you for the update. I can fully support the gems you have awarded so far; I feel another few may still be published soon .;)
    Thank you also for the added info in the graph from the other control stops.
    It seems that this year Kulgera was the turning point for a couple of races within the race.
    The top 5 had been waving at each other through their side windows till then, but once into South Australia the differences (except for Twente-Nuon) suddenly appeared. Maybe we have to study the social media feeds again to understand what had happened. Fact is that the 2 first days must have already been eating away at the cars and that there are a lot more of the cattle grates in SA.
    I know Tokai had their troubles, including the flat tyre and damage to their wheel casing after Alice Springs. They also seem to have served a 15 minute time penalty for recklessly overtaking Michigan.
    Punch had to repair the suspension of their wheel and sit out their time penalty. I feel for the Belgians when their 1 hour penalty is compared to that of Tokai. Probably in the adrenaline rush of righting the wrong they drove at the speed limit to get back within the leaders and maybe should have been driving more economically to actually have a chance.
    Michigan had their fender-wheel problem on Day 3 but that only must have cost them a few minutes; not sure why they couldn’t keep up with the race leaders anymore. The graph shows they drove quite a bit faster than Tokai between Glendambo and Port Augusta, maybe burning just that margin to stay ahead of them in the final stretch.
    Also for the battle between Stanford and Megalux Kulgera was the point after which Stanford pulled away and Megalux never got them in sight again.
    It is in the DNA of the WSC that close to the finish teams will have to deal with batteries running lower and lower, energy income in the south becoming more disappointing and head/crosswinds more prominent. Nice recipe for nerve-racking races in the years to come.

    Congratulations to all the teams for their achievements and a big thank you to all of them for keeping us on the fronts of our seats for considerable time. Thank you also to the bloggers and media teams for allowing us-from-afar feel closely involved. And of course to WSC for putting up the show .;)

    • An interesting observation.
      On the (Dutch) Stella Blog, they mentioned that there was less wind or wind from more ahead, allowing high speeds for the Jamanese. While at other parts the wind was from the sides. which favored the stable form of Stella, while the Japanese had to slow down.
      Which makes me wonder if they should have had reverse strategies; having only one driver could have allowerd Stella to speed past.
      Or reverse, having two drivers could have made the Japanese heavy and stable enough that they could higher speeds, or get more point for their maximum speed.

      Unreleated, I read on a Japanese blog (google Translate) that they accuse Michigan of using penalties to delay their competitors (and of creating the situations by speeding up during being overtaken):
      http://www.zdp.co.jp/ Appearently it is custom in American solar races to get as much penalties for your competitors as possible (can anyone confirm this?), and perhaps they did just that to Tokai and Punch?
      It would explain why they mentioned ‘rumors of unserved penalties’ on twitter, if they had been the one filing the complaints.

      • It sounds to me like Google Translate totally mangled what the Japanese blog was saying. The Michigan blog (here) discusses penalties, but mostly in a general way. It does mention (and give a photograph of) a dramatic incident where Tokai ran their chase car off the road, but Tokai served a 15 minute penalty for that.

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