Live Blogging from the Formula Sun Grand Prix: Day 2

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5:02 PM
Finished for the day! Come back tomorrow for more updates!

Current driver: n/a
Laps today: 102
Laps total: 165

4:25 PM
Jess qualified as a driver shortly after we did as a team, so Valerie is now in the car getting familiar with the track and starting to work on her 25 qualification laps.

4:07 PM
Northwestern has just qualified for the American Solar Challenge! Shortly after Jess got in the driver’s seat, we completed our 150th lap of the past two days. This means we will spend the next week racing across the Midwest before finishing in Chicago a week from Sunday!


2:36 PM
I just watched our left fairing door fall off on the course’s first straightaway. They’ve allowed us to continue racing anyway (no safety hazard, just an aerodynamics problem) so we’ll reattach it at the next pit stop.

2:11 PM
We’ve been keeping our speed down to about 28 mph since the last incident because we want to make sure the car is stable in the strong winds. Even so, we’re getting close to finishing our qualifying laps – we only have about 20 more to go. To see where everyone stands, check the midday update on the ASC homepage.

Current Driver: Max
Laps Today: 67
Laps Total: 130

1:31 PM
Everything’s fine. Heading back out onto the track momentarily.

12:51 PM
We just got a report from Max that the car was picked up momentarily by the wind. It stayed upright and everyone appears to be fine, but we’ve sent a team out to inspect the car and make sure no damage was done.

update: The car is driving back to the cold pit under its own power.

12:35 PM
We’re getting really impressive current out of our array. We were a bit worried because some of the numbers during our preliminary testing were quite low, however the numbers we’re getting are in line with last year. Not bad for a 2 year old array.

Current Driver: Max
Laps Today: 57 (only halfway through the day and only 6 short of yesterday’s total)
Laps Total: 120

12:03 PM
Most teams seem to be doing a lot better today. Texas and Calgary have spent some time in the pits, but a lot of teams are out there on the track. Unfortunately, Western Michigan has decided to drop out. We spent a fair amount of time with them and are sad to see them go. We wish them (and their pet duck) the best of luck in the future!

11:40 AM
Car is still running smoothly. We’re gonna keep Max in until we finish the 150 laps required to qualify, which should happen by about 1:30 PM closer to 2:15. Then we’ll switch out and keep getting our new drivers some experience.

Current Driver: Max
Laps Today: 43
Laps Total: 106

11:12 AM
It is very windy here today – our telemetry and blogging tent just blew over! Luckily the car is handling the winds better than us. Also, here’s a nice map of the track that we’re raycing on:


Current Diver: Max
Laps Today: 34
Laps Total: 97

10:40 AM
We’ve come in for a quick tire change, but otherwise its been smooth sailing this morning. Our telemetry dish amplifier is working very well, which is helping us better plan our strategy for the rest of the day.

Current Driver: Max
Laps Today: 25
Laps Total: 89

10:00 AM
Bochum just had a scary moment – their back wheels came off the ground. Luckily, they managed to stay on the course and not flip over. Amazingly, they are already back out on the track.

9:38 AM
Day 2 of FSGP is underway! We’ve decided to put our most experienced driver, Max, back in the car this morning so we can use our almost full battery power to go fast and power through the 87 laps we need to qualify the car for the American Solar Challenge (150 laps in two successive days will qualify a car). We’re about half an hour into the race now, and we’ve been running successfully so far. We’ve moved the telemetry system into a tent closer to the track and set up a dish to amplify the signal in hopes of getting better data.

We also have some good news from the other teams – Oregon State, Western Michigan, and Illinois state are all getting close to finishing scrutineering and joining everyone else out on the track!

Current Driver: Max
Laps Today: 4
Laps Total: 67

-Michael Sherer

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