Ready to Race!

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Early Saturday morning we arrived at Motorsports Ranch in Cresson and had our first rayce meeting. Sixteen teams in total are expected to attend and compete over the next two weeks. However, before the racing can begin all the cars have to pass scrutineering, a number of tests to make sure that the cars are safe and in compliance with the regulations.

We spent most of the first day undergoing a number of preliminary scrutineering tests. The day started well with us getting a green sticker (meaning we completely passed) on the array test. Many of the other tests were more challenging. In the mechanical test, we were informed we needed a better way of attaching the nuts that keep the wheel together. This required an order of new parts, which should be arriving tomorrow. In the Battery Protection System Test, we discovered our temperature sensors had almost completely stopped working. One of the most exciting tests was access and egress, in which all of our drivers were required to fully exit the vehicle in under 10 seconds. All of our drivers passed with flying colors, with senior driver Max managing to get out in under 8 seconds. However, we ended the day with several red stickers (not ready to do dynamic testing) and a lot of work to do.

Sunday was a very long and productive day. We built and installed a ballast box in front of the driver, which is another requirement (the ballast evens out the weight of the car so lighter drivers don’t get an advantage) This required some creative engineering to avoid the brake lines and still be big enough to fit the ballast. We installed a new brake light switch that should fix the long running issue of the brake lights being unreliable. It is also has a cage surrounding it that will prevent the driver from kicking the switch accidentally. The temperature sensors were fixed and we got the Battery Protection Circuit working again. By the end of the day, all of our stickers were green (completely ready) or yellow (ready enough for dynamic testing). We went to bed exhausted but pleased with our progress.

This morning, we began immediately on the dynamics course, which consists of a figure 8, slalom, turn radius, and braking test. All of our drivers were very successful, passing the tests within a few attempts. We passed the braking tests without even blowing a tire, which has happened many times in the past. The green sticker in dynamics means we have passed arguably the most important hurdle in being ready for the track and cross country races!

One of the most exciting moments came during the slalom:

Slalom Test

This technically qualifies as passing, but we did it again with all the wheels on the ground to make sure we were safe.

-Michael Sherer

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