As we said in our last update, Chopper Del Sol experienced a moderate crash on Sunday, the second day of racing for the American Solar Challenge. It came on a day that would have allowed us to move up to 2nd or 3rd place if we had been able to maintain our pace. But with the goal of winning the race a very, very distant hope (we were penalized almost 1300 minutes for trailering our vehicle because the crash occurred so close to the start of the stage and the penalty is based on how many miles the car is trailered), we have set out with a new goal: to finish this race.
We arrived in Ann Arbor on Sunday afternoon and quickly set up a place to work in the parking lot of our hotel. The crash thankfully only damaged the composite body and didn't affect anything structural. So we set out to patch up the broken composites and the slight jigsaw puzzle that the lower front part of the body had become. We worked through the night and all of the next day, and by the end of the day we had a functioning body. Meanwhile, our electrical team were working on the battery and some other issues that came about after the crash. The work continued until Tuesday morning, the start of the next stage. At 9:10am, Chopper Del Sol was again in one piece and was out on the road, prepared for another day of racing.
We headed out from Ann Arbor in the beautiful, mostly clear day. The heat was quite extreme, about 100 degrees fahrenheit (and even hotter in the car), making it quite difficult on our drivers. Julia started out the day, driving 170 miles to Kalamazoo, MI, where we had a checkpoint and Western Michigan University. The heat proved to caused some temperature issues with our battery pack, but beyond that, Chopper ran quite smoothly considering what had happened 2 days ago. After the check point, Dillon took control of the car and drove it to Goshen, IN. We have been able to pass a number of teams in this stage, although our overall time is still far behind the other times because of the penalties that we have received. But we are happy to be back out on the road and racing our solar car. Tomorrow morning we will head out to Normal, IL, the next stage stop.
More updates will be coming soon with pictures showing the work that has been done on the car and everything else that had been happening. Right now, we all need to get some rest in order to be ready for another race day tomorrow. Be sure to follow everything that is happening at http://americansolarchallenge.org/.