Friday, October 23, 2015

WSC 2015: Race Day 4, 5, and 6.

 Last time we wrote an update, we'd just finished the third day of the WSC 2015, and were camped out in the Alice Springs caravan park with all of the Cruiser Class teams. The Malaysians were camped there as well, trying to get their car repaired after their battery fire. A bunch of UNSW and Minnesota members were up late helping repair the car, along with a few WSC officials, the odd member or two from Bochum, Eindhoven, Kogakuin, and some random solar car team alums spectating along the race.

We had a looong drive ahead of us the next day to catch up with the top teams - our target was the outback just north of Port Augusta - but we still stayed up late into the night pitching in to patch their car up.

A Sunswift alum contemplating the fire damage to EcoPhoton's car.
Fire damage, partially repaired - and soon to be fully patched over.
Eindhoven's car under covers for the night.
Team members and officials making a plan of action for rebuilding Malaysia's
electrical system.
On the morning of the 21st, we woke up before dawn and headed out chasing the top teams. Since we were starting from Alice Springs, and the winners were projected to cross the line on the morning of the 23rd, that meant we had to get near Port Augusta by the end of the day. 1200km in one day is a lot of driving to do...

We did a quick swing by the Malaysian camp in the morning, and the team was
wiring up power trackers and spinning the motor.
Passing BlueSky charging by the side of the road outside Alice Springs.

Passing WSU early in the morning, before Kulgera

Meeting up with Team Arrow in Coober Pedy
Passing Team Arrow after departing from our Coober Pedy fuel stop.
MegaLux charging in the evening in Glendambo

Camping in the outback on the night of the 21st, after driving +1200km in a single
day. We ended up 40km north of Port Augusta.
We made it! At the finish line on the morning of the 22nd, before the top finishers.
Nuon finishes first!

Twente across the line 2nd
Michigan in 4th (I don't have a great picture of Tokai, who finished 3rd)

Stanford finished 6th (No great picture of Punch, who finished 5th).
The team was greeted by an alum with a ginger beer and doughnuts.
Goko High School finishing on the 23rd - the top finishing high school team.

Ardingly at the finish line.
Stingray from the MARA University of Technology in Malaysia driving across the finish line under it's own power - a major achievement after their battery fire.
Cambridge crossing the line
Most of the cars have finished by now - the finishing order so far for the Challenger class appears to be:
  1. Nuon
  2. Twente
  3. Tokai
  4. Michigan
  5. Punch
  6. Stanford
  7. MegaLux
  8. Arrow
  10. WSU
  11. NWU
  12. Blue Sky
  13. UKZN
  14. Goko
  15. JU
  16. NIT
Principia, KIT, and maaaybe Anadolu will finish tomorrow (the finish line closes at noon). Even without those teams, this is by far the best field of car we've had at WSC in a long time - far more teams finishing than in previous years.

On the Cruiser side, Kogakuin and Eindhoven have finished, and Bochum is due in early tomorrow. Sunswift should finish as well, and maaaybe Minnesota will sneak in under the line. The Cruiser practicality judging is at 2pm tomorrow.

I'll post some comments on the race and performance of each car in the coming days, but for now, I'd like to wrap this up. I will say one thing though: Twente was very vocal on social media about a few supposed race conduct issues on Nuon's part, and it caused quite a stir around the finish line - and in the comments on blogs. However, I am not a fan of internet mobs based on single-sided hearsay. If Twente believes they have a real case against Nuon, they should be filing an official protest rather than whining publicly on social media. We'll see how appealing through official channels goes... Given how close the race was, I'd be shocked if Twente was able to run a 100% clean race and I'd be surprised if Nuon couldn't match protest-for-protest if Twente decides to force the issue.

Whelp. That's that for tonight.


  1. Another great post.

    Re the Nuon overtake that Twente seem to have taken issue with, it is incumbent upon the overtaking team to overtake in a safe manner.

    Twente should remember, however, that in all motorsport once the overtaking car has it's nose in front it then becomes the responsibility of the car that has been passed to drive safely. If, as they say, they had to brake suddenly then perhaps it was them who were at fault.

    Just to add fuel to the fire!


    1. " that in all motorsport "

      But this is not motorsport. They are driving on public roads and must adhere to all rules and regulations just as anyone. Apart from that, the organization of the WSC can set any rule they like and are in no way obliged to follow customary rules in motorsports.

    2. Quite correct Arne, see my further reply below. I wouldn't say that it's not a motorsport but all organizers of road events are keen to emphasise that they are not races. We even have the ridiculous practice in the states of them calling it a "Rayce" as if that makes a difference.

      My point was simply that it is incumbent on ALL drivers to take care!


  2. I can not see why Nuon would be breaking after overtaking - other then the risk of penalties; braking would cost them as much energy as Twente.
    However I do remember from the comments on the live stream that there was a railroad crossing not far ahead, on which a short train crossed just before passing.
    They feared that if it had been a long train as usual, they would have had to stop and given Twente the chance to catch up - but then Twente would have had to stop as well, so still not really seeing the point.

    But one thing is for sure; next year all teams need dashboard cams to challenge penalties.
    (If Power Punch could prove they are as innocent as they claim, they would have finished third)


  3. I think that the issue was that the chase car pulled in front of the Twente lead car too abruptly causing it to brake and the solar car, in turn, had to brake. Since the race observer is in the chase car an independent witness is surely available but I maintain that there is a responsibility on the team being passed to help maintain safety. I would not even consider whether the overtaking manoeuvre was completed safely, rather was it safe in the opinion of the observer to attempt the overtake. If it was safe then once the manoeuvre is started it is for both parties to act sensibly. After all this happens on the road every day and, remember, in the eyes of the law this is NOT a race.

    I agree that dashboard cams would help in situations like this and that encountered by Punch and I am a little surprised that teams are not already using them widely.


  4. Replies
    1. Whoops, sorry I missed them in the lift of finishing order! Totally blanked on them (and sorry it took me 4 days to realize and fix this)