We took green on all but two stations on the first pass of scrutineering (technical inspections). There were just a few minor things that we just forgot, but for the most part it went very smoothly. This gave us extra time to do those “nice to have” things—like optimizing the alignment or helping another team.
Today is the qualifying event on the track itself, which will be the first time we’re actually driving the car on the Yas Marina Circuit. All solar cars were released at 9 AM and will drive until 5 PM. The number of laps you complete determines poll position.
There has been a big difference between how Michigan typically handles inspections and how this team has had to manage it. Typically, the team has months to practice scrutineering before they arrive at a race—they’re usually way over-prepared. This team hasn’t had that luxury due to the accelerated timing of how this race has come together. Despite that, our team handled the process incredibly well. We’ve all done it before and the car was ready to go.
I definitely think this experience is going to help Pavan and Leda as they prepare for the World Solar Challenge. This inspection was so much more difficult than what they’ll have in the world race. Now that they understand exactly what preparations went into this race, they should be able to breeze through the inspections in the world race. The most useful things will come during the next few days. Leda will actually have to run the strategy and have an opportunity to test out what she will be doing in Australia. If it doesn’t work here, the stakes are a lot lower. This gives her a chance to practice in a real event with other teams, because strategy is never done in a bubble.
Jeff Ferman, BSE ‘08 Computer Science Engineering