Live Blogging from the Formula Sun Grand Prix: Day 1

with No Comments

5:06 PM
The first day of FSGP is finished! After our welding repairs were complete, we managed to get back out on the track and complete about 20 more laps. This included enough laps to qualify Kristin to drive in the cross country race. Our total for the entire day was 63 laps, not enough to qualify the car for the ASC, but we can still easily qualify tomorrow or Friday. We’re looking forward to getting the rest of our drivers and the car qualified. One piece of good news is that we are getting more current from the array than we expected, and our batteries are doing extremely well as a result.

Come back tomorrow for another day of blogging and racing!

2:11 PM
Picture of the damage from earlier:


1:59 PM
Excellent news from the mechanical team! The welding job that was supposed to take hours has been completed in only 45 minutes. Hopefully this means we can be back on the track within an hour or so. We’ve been using the down time to clean the array and make a few minor repairs. Huge thanks to Oregon State for letting us use their welder!

1:22 PM
Bad news: The crash has caused some damage to our rear pins that connect the top shell to the rest of the car. The repairs are going to require some welding, which means we’ll be stationary for at least a few hours.
Good news: The electrical system and batteries seem to be fine, and our driver Kristin is safe and resting.

12:57 PM
We’re not the only team having problems. About half of the teams on the race are in the cold pit right now trying to fix something. Bocham came in because their back tire was completely shredded. Minnesota spun out on the far end of the track shortly before our crash, while Iowa stalled out several times and is now in the pits. Hopefully everyone can get back to the track soon, the more teams racing the better! Still waiting on our car to arrive so we can get a full assessment of the damage.

12:50 PM
We just went off the track. Luckily, our driver and car both seem to be alright. We were trying to pass around Texas on a corner, but clipped the outside and went up the embankment. The car went on its side several times and came dangerously close to tipping, but ended up safely by the side of the road. A truck went out with team members and supplies to make sure everyone and everything is okay. We are waiting now for them to bring the car back to the pits.

12:01 PM
Lunch has arrived. Lots of sandwiches from PB&J to Salami and cheese being consumed. Car still zooming around the track with no problems.

Current Driver: Kristin
Laps Today: 39
Laps Total: 39

11:13 AM
Kristin is the current driver and we’re back on track!

Current Driver: Kristin
Laps Today: 30
Laps Total: 30

11:10 AM
Driver change! Max has all the laps he needs to qualify for the American Solar Challenge cross country race and Kristin is getting in the car. We also determined that we need to change a tire because the air pressure was too low. The car is jacked up in the hot pit and the team is working to make all the necessary changes.

10:33 AM
Kentucky got towed off the track a short while ago and the team is working on the car. Stanford and Minnesota are both rolling now, so congratulations to them. Calgary, Bochum (from Germany) and Michigan are really flying around the track. We’ve been doing really well also and are getting close to qualifying Max to drive in the cross country race (each driver needs 25 laps to qualify). We’re still having issues with the telemetry data, so we’re making plans to build a larger antenna for the receiver that will hopefully help us get better data.

Current Driver: Max
Laps Today: 18
Laps Total: 18

10:00 AM
Stanford and Minnesota appear to be close to finishing repairs and getting out on the track. We’ve been running strong since we got out on the track. Max reached our target speed after just a few laps and has settled into a nice rhythm. One minor issue: We’ve had to move our telemetry station closer to track in order to get more reliable data.

Current Driver: Max
Laps Today: 10
Laps Total: 10

9:37 AM
Here’s a picture of sc5 as she rolls out: We’re completing our fifth lap around the track.


Current Driver: Max
Laps Today: 4
Laps Total: 4

9:18 AM
Our turn signal issue is fixed! One of our wires had come loose. We’ve attached the bubble and are rolling out onto the track as we speak.

9:03 AM
The rayce has started! SC5 appears to be having a few minor electrical issues, but we should be joining the other teams out on the track soon.

8:51 AM
The teams are starting to line up in the pits in preparation for the start of the rayce. Here are a couple of the other solar cars we’ve seen:


7:51 AM
We’re here on the track setting up our pit area and getting the car ready. We have the array up on its stand and tilted toward the sun for some last minute charging. A number of teams qualified last night, and the total number of teams running in the rayce is now 10. Raycing starts at 9 AM, we can’t wait! Stay tuned for updates as the day goes on, and you can track our laps here or on the homepage (

-Michael Sherer

Leave a Reply