Day 1 of the National Model Solar Car Challenge took place at Scienceworks in Melbourne on Saturday 23rd November. Scienceworks is a wonderful facility that served as a great backdrop for an exciting two days of racing. There was certainly plenty to do in the downtime between racing, interviews and scrutineering.
The SMCC team of Michael, Kosta and Angus had spent countless hours in preparation for the event and as State Champions there was a fair amount of expectation that they would feature in the finals. Their car ‘Bullet’ had been a standout in the State events and it certainly looked even faster when it hit the track.
Saturday was all about time and a series of practice sessions prior to the racing helped the team fine tune the gearing to ensure the car performed in the fluctuating light. The conditions were not ideal with wind, rain and patches of brilliant sunshine helping Melbourne live up to its reputation for being able to provide four seasons in one day!
All teams found the conditions tough to deal with and there was a great deal of indecision prior to placing the cars on the track. The track itself was showing its age and was not of the same quality as the UNSW track we used for the State Championships. In saying this it was the same for all competitors and only added to the complexity of the task at hand.
At the completion of the Day 1 activities all teams had completed an interview to discuss how they constructed their car and prepared it for racing. They also submitted a poster which outlined the development and testing of the car and finally raced to decide the seedings for the knockout races on Day 2.
‘Bullet’ qualified second fastest after Day 1 and despite the weather and the variations in the track by the time we left for our accommodation we were very confident Sunday would be a very exciting day of racing.
Here are some of the highlights from Day 1.