Onto Day 2 of the Solar Car Challenge! The team is still running with the adrenaline rush from the race we put on yesterday, completing 237 official laps on just Day 1! We surpassed our own previous lap record of 184 laps in 2021.
Alain Semet (Mentor) walking Abigail Jawili (10) through systems in the car
Because we had the most official laps yesterday, we started first on the grid today with Hagen Rankin (10) as our first driver of the day and his first time racing in Texas! Since it was his first time racing in Texas, he took his initial laps slow to get used to the track and pass other drivers. Once he got more comfortable and familiar with the track, he picked up to faster speeds. At 10:00 AM, we had our first driver change. Abigail Jawili (10) drove for the first time in Texas, also taking her first laps slow, before speeding up for during the duration of the time of her drive. Both drivers drove at an average speed of 80 km/h, widening the gap lead.
As I said beforehand, this was the first time I would be racing in Texas. The build-up to the moment of getting into the car for the driver change with Hagen, getting settled in the car to get ready to drive, driving down pitlane to enter into the track, I felt an immense feel of nervousness and excitement. Once I exited pitlane and did half a lap around the track, all the nervousness and pressure lifted off my shoulders. All I felt was the confidence in my team, in Jimmy, and within myself to have a safe drive and an exciting one. I have never felt so excited honking at other cars to fly right by to pass them. I was exhilarated! The time on the track is an experience I will never forget.
As the temperature started to increase throughout the day, Race Day 2 became the hottest day in Texas in five years, and we got through three more drivers: Teddie Blahous (12), Zach Olsson (10), and Quinton Pho (11). It was also Zach’s and Quinton’s first time driving in Texas.
When Quinton was driving, he jogged slightly right at the end of turn 2 to avoid a slower car on the inside lane. In so doing, he ran into a cone on the track. This bump caused the right front fairing (structure added to reduce drag) to crack. The crack itself was not very significant; Opal Heltzel (11) and Maya Peña (12) were able to mend the crack with some fiberglass and epoxy.
Mike Williams served as our judge today. He is getting ready to start a solar car team at his school in Kansas; we appreciated his help keeping the team safe and wish him (and his students) well on the start of a very exciting journey.
With only two days left of the race, the team is eager for the upcoming days!