CalSol, Waterloo, MIT, and SIUE on the track (picture credit)
Well, the Formula Sun Grand Prix or FSGP (the 3-day track race component of ASC) is over. I have updated my race information page and teams list with news and some pictures. To summarise the event, the chart below (in the colours of a Nebraska sunset) shows the total laps (after penalties) for each car (as with all images on this page, click to zoom). Teams which qualified for the road race are marked (with “P” indicating provisional qualification). The Russian team (89) had a rather slow car (not to mention that the motor eventually died), but they also received a large penalty (possibly for battery replacement?).
Some teams treated FSGP purely as a qualifier, while others went out hard to win it. Congratulations to Poly Montreal / Esteban (55) for being the winner, to Berkeley / CalSol (6) for coming second, and to Western Sydney University (15) for coming third! These will all be strong contenders in the road race (along with Michigan, who seem to have taken things fairly easy on the track). For the Cruiser (MOV) class, things are a little more complex, and are discussed later in this post.
FSGP 1st, 2nd, and 3rd (picture credit)
This chart shows the fastest lap speeds for each team. Western Sydney University (15) ran the fastest lap, at 80.5 km/h (50.0 mph):
And here is a revised (and, I think, final) teams poster, with the teams qualified for the road race marked in green:
For the Cruiser (MOV) class, the “cactus” diagram below tells the story. For each car, the first coloured bar shows the number of person-kilometres (basically the number of laps times the average number of people in the car). Cars mostly ran full (although PrISUm ran with only 2 people). Onda Solare (559) had less than 4 people in the car for a few laps (they also had technical problems, which is why they scored no laps on Day 3). As the first chart showed, Minnesota clocked up almost as many laps as the top 3 Challengers, which is why it has the tallest bar here.
For each car, the second coloured bar shows the external energy input, which is the number of charges (including the pre-race charge) multiplied by the battery capacity. This bar points downward, because large values are bad. And in the brilliant sunshine of Hastings, the Minnesota car refused recharge opportunities, drinking in the sun like the Challenger (SOV) cars. The third coloured bar, which is the final score, is the first bar divided by the second (all bars are scaled so that the highest value is 100%). The high lap count and low external energy input put Minnesota way ahead in the final scoring. Ultimately, this was due to the beautiful and efficient aerodynamics of their car. Third place was decided on AppState’s battery (11.025 kWh, compared to 15.876 for Waterloo).
Minnesota drinking in the sun (picture credit)
The road race for the Cruiser (MOV) class will be interesting. We will, I think, see more strategic refusal to recharge from the grid (which we have not seen at WSC), and we might see Minnesota, with its small (6.75 kWh) battery, struggle a little in the mountains. Anything can still happen!
Meanwhile, one more picture to say farewell to Hastings, Nebraska:
Illini, Western Michigan, and Esteban on the track (picture credit)
I’m enjoying your coverage! At the track yesterday we met an alum of the Michigan solar car team and he said that a lot of the teams seem to have a taken big step forward compared to the past. Should be an interesting race!
Yes, I think some teams have indeed taken a big step forward, and would do well if they moved on to WSC.
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