Onto the Racetrack

The BWSC Dynamic Scrutineering

With most of the Darwin CBD still asleep around us, team Bochum is ready to start the day early as ever on Saturday. Our next big test, the dynamic scrutineering is happening today. SolarCar Teams from all around the world meet up at Hidden Valley today for the final time before the officially starting this year’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge tomorrow morning.

And it has been a rocky road for us to get here. Since our passing static scrutineering on Wednesday, the thyssenkrupp Sunriser’s motors just kept on holding us up with this issue or another. Not a day has gone by without at least some of us staying overnight at Hidden Valley to make sure our SolarCar will be ready to race by the weekend. After some long, good consideration, we need to make the difficult decision to swap our motors altogether. We’ll have to use our replacements instead, which were never tested so far.

Saturday starts with a general briefing. Among other things, BWSC officials now reveal the randomized order in which teams will be called up during the day. Luckily, our tkSR gets drawn into one of the later spots, so there’s some time left to test the new motors after all. Most people on the team are still noticeably agitated as we make our way to the track a few hours later. SolarCars from many different countries were presented to the public here during the day. Now it’s our turn.

The Final Prepping Day

Once at the race track, the tkSR gets in line with the other SolarCars. It takes some time, but after a while our SolarCar arrives at the starting point. An initial testing lap is immediately followed by the fast lap. SolarCars need to finish this one in the shortest time possible, since their results will determine tomorrow’s starting positions. We loudly applaud our thyssenkrupp SunRiser as it starts its first lap, then make our way to the barrier right next to the track. Both times it passes us, we’re sure to make some noise to get our driver all fired up.

At the finish line, there’s exactly two minutes and 32 seconds on the clock. The following slalom and braking tests don’t challenge us too much either. And after that, it’s over already. Now we’re finally and definitely qualified for the race.

Talking to other teams, we learn how their day has gone just as well. In the afternoon, everyone at Hidden Valley seems to be in a good mood. Some amendments were made when teams changed their class during the day for a better chance at the race itself. Team TAFE South Australia for one is now participating as an Adventure Class entrant. Instead of a classic challenger or cruiser car, they built a SolarCar pulling a whole solar trailer with a total cell surface of 16m².

As we pack up our things and prepare everything for tomorrow, our Italian neighbors of team Onda Solare invite us over for some coffee. Many of us gladly accept the offer. We finish our day off with ordering some pizza for the whole team.

But this doesn’t wrap up the night for everyone. Some of us have to stay with the car to watch the battery’s charging process. We need to fill it up entirely by tomorrow morning, so it’ll last us for the next two days and 1000 kilometers, all the way to Tennant Creek. It’s some time between four and five in the morning when the last of our team members arrive back at the hostel. Now the only thing left to do for today is get at least some hours of sleep before starting the big race tomorrow.

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