Finally, the day we have been so anxiously waiting and working for, the first day of the race arrived. The team finished charging the car and made final preparations for the start of the race. There was a slight issue with a battery connection in the main system, but we had a spare battery connector and were able to fix it in time.
The race began at nine o’clock sharp with one car being released onto the track every minute. As team number eleven, the solar car entered the track at 9:10 with Ben Conser at the wheel. By this time, the mornings’ overcast was starting to break up and we decided to cruise at 18 mph as we familiarized ourselves with the track and racing conditions.
The team and the car were performing well until Sol Tide was rear-ended by CCHS. Ben was uninjured and completed the lap as he pulled into Pit Lane where the other two team captains inspected the car. They immediately found that the tie rod holding the rear brake to the chassis, preventing the brake from spinning, was sheered in the accident. As a result, the brake spun freely ripping the brake line.
The tie rod is very unique and is almost impossible to replace without fabricating a new one. Clearly, there was no time to make a new one. In our moment of desperation, a Liberty Christian sponsor led the team to a drag racing fabricator who could sleeve-weld the tie rod. An aluminum sleeve would be placed over the sheer and welded to both portions of the rod. As the tie rod was being welded, the rest of the team fixed and bled the brake line. Once the tie rod was returned, it was promptly bolted onto the car, and immediately tested by both the team and the judges. The car passed the test and could return to racing for the afternoon session. We received the okay during the mandatory lunch break, which meant we had to wait another hour before getting back onto the track.
Our first afternoon driver was Soham Bharne who drove for one and a half hours. During this time the team decided to run the car at 24 mph to make up lost time. The next driver was Sean Kennedy, who was instructed to drive at 25 mph after the pits calculated the ideal speed to complete as many laps as possible while preserving the batteries. The car completed 48 laps in the afternoon increasing our total to 55 laps for the day.
After a delicious barbecue dinner provided by the event hosts, the captains discussed a strategy for day two. The team is confident for the upcoming days on both the track and road.Next Post Previous Post