FSGP 2016, Scrutineering Days

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It’s here; we’re finally taking SC6 to a race, after two years of not participating in FSGP or ASC. We are very excited to be participating in FSGP 2016 and hope to give SC6 a good “last run” on the track before we retire her and begin working full-time on SC7.

Ben packs up the trailer
Ben packs up the trailer

On Thursday, July 21st, most of the team met in Chicago to pack the car in the trailer. We took down our array stand so that it would fit in the back of the truck, and packed snap-together Festool boxes with many of the tools and supplies we would need. Unfortunately, we were a bit late getting out of Chicago because our trailer got parked in and we were unable to unpark it for about 2 hours.

We also had a little bit of an delay when our trailer blew a tire about 2 hours into the trip. Fortunately, a kind policeman stopped shortly after and lent us a jack which we were able to use to change our tire. It seems, from what we know of team history, that it’s almost impossible to go an entire FSGP without a tire blowing, so we are glad that ours happened at a non-dangerous time and that we were able to resolve it so quickly.


A blown trailer tire

We arrived at Pittsburgh International Race Complex minutes before the rain started, just in time to attend the kickoff meeting.

Solar Car Teams sitting in kickoff meetingOver the next three days, we have been hard at work gettting SC6 through scrutineering. The electrical team spent a lot of time debugging BPS software and making sure the driver switches and lights and horn worked. The mechanical team attached regulation decals and added some safety features suggested by Dick Roberto during scrutineering.

Ethan checking the battery voltage
Ethan checks the battery voltage durring electrical scrutineering
David applies epoxy to SC6 topshell
Our rear video camera screen broke, so we attached mirrors to the topshell, just in case we cannot get another one in time for the race. They will let us at least pass scrutineering.

On the third day of scrutineering, we had very heavy rains in the afternoon. Before they came, we put the car in the trailer, but had to keep the array outside under our tents. Even so, we all helped to hold a tarp over the array to prevent it from getting too wet. On the plus side, the array stayed more or less dry in the places that mattered. On the negative side, we did not.

Storm clouds over the horizon
The storm front moving in. It was a lot more massive than it looks here.

Team Members holding a tarp and umbrella over the array while the rain pours down.On day four, we got all yellow green stickers in scrutineering, meaning we were able to progress to dynamics testing. For the uninitiated, dynamics testing is where the race officials take your car and attempt to break it, putting it through a series of driving and handling tests to make sure it will be safe taking turns and making stops once out on the track. We completed both the slalom and brake tests yesterday. This is a significant achievement for the car; it has broken down at races twice before, once at each of these two tests. Making it through them means were very confident that we can make it on the track on day 1 of racing, although we might miss a bit of the beginning of the race.

Alexander laughing from inside the car
Alexander jokes with our driver POC (point of contact) over the bluetooth headset in the helmet.

Look for more updates to come in the next few days as we begin racing SC6 on the track.

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