St Clare’s Year 8 Team Update

After weeks of discussion and planning the Year 8 team is up and running with the start of construction beginning today.


The past few weeks have been spent looking closely at the regulations for the event and past designs that have proven successful at the UNSW Sunsprint. Our Year 8 team consisting of Emily, Jazmine, Monica, Isabella and Elana has come up with a design they believe will be easy to build and competitive.


We will follow the construction process over the coming weeks to see how they bring their design to reality.

2017 Competition Update

Here is a list of the competitions set down for this year’s UNSW Sunsprint.

SunSprint 100m track National

The rules for this competition are laid down by the National body and have changed substantially. The new rules are not up on the national site yet but I have attached a draft copy.

STEM Challenge 2017

This is a new competition and its aim is to try and fit in with a unit of work at school but can also be done as extra curricular. It has a brief and a set of judging criteria and will be held on the 100m track. It will be held over the two days.

20m Straight

This is the solar car drag event for both primary and secondary students. It is held on the Saturday and has all the STEM components but doesn’t have any judging except for the fastest car. This is a Saturday competition.

10m Boats

This is the wire guided boats racing over a 10m pond. It has a couple of categories and one can lead to a national event. It might sound simple but there are lots of elements to it. It is also run on the Saturday.
Pursuit Cars.
This is another new competition. Run on an oval track with a car starting on each side chasing each other until one catches the other. Good fun and requires a well engineered car to cope with distance and handling the semi circle at each end. Run on the Saturday.
Open Solar Car.
This new competition is open to all, teachers, students, parents, uni students and anyone keen to have a go. The rules are minimal and it is two laps of the 100m figure 8 track. Fastest car and held on Saturday.

Day 2 Racing

The racing events were quite chaotic as teams were not quite sure how they were positioned at the end of the time trials.

One complication was that the judges had decided all cars needed to compete with the 2 litre tetra-pak inside the car. One of the aspects of the Challenge this year was that each car needed to be able to contain such an item inside the car. The idea of this is to stop teams using the same car each year.

We had asked for clarification on this rule prior to the event. It was deemed that the cars only needed to have the container inside during scrutineering. This change to the process caused much confusion as our five teams had to work together to share our two tetra-pak containers. Eventually common sense prevailed and the judges came to a compromise that alleviated the chaos.

Once racing began the conditions worsened and the skies now were quite overcast and the light was getting poorer by the hour. Most of the cars struggled to complete one complete lap of the track with only the very best cars recording decent times.

For SMCC two cars made it through the first round. Our Year 7 team ‘Flash’ and our Year 10 team ‘Winged Hussar’ both had comfortable wins in Round One but bowed out of the competition in Round Two.

While the day ended without success we were all glad that at least we got to get our cars on the track and test our designs under race conditions.

Video highlights of the racing will be available during the week.

Day 2 Time Trials

The time trials began once the entire track was covered in light. One of the problems at UNSW is the track is situated in a corner of the Quadrangle and overshadowed by the recently built student accommodation block. This means the track cannot be used until around 10am.

Once time trials began the conditions had become quite cloudy with the occasional sunny break. This meant some teams recorded fast times while others had to settle for quite slow times if their time trial was run in overcast conditions. There was not much choice but to press on given the tight time frame and once the seedings were done it was clear some of the better cars would be knocked out early.

We had mixed success with our five cars. Some got to run in full sun while others had to battle around the track in heavy cloud. This was quite disappointing as a couple of the teams never got to see what their cars could do when exposed to full sunlight.

photo 2 (4).JPG

Video highlights of the time trials will be uploaded soon!

Day 2 UNSW Sunsprint 2016

Day 2 started with bright sunny skies and not even a hint of showers which brought a smile to the faces of participants and support teams.

photo 1 (4)

The plan was to compact the two day program into one manic day of time trials and racing. This would mean that the racing component was reduced significantly into knockout rounds rather than a series of round-robin races. Unfortunately this meant some of our teams would may only race once.

The time trials are to seed each team to ensure that the racing eventually pits the two top teams against each other in the finals. While we waited for the track to be fully covered in sun the clouds began drifting in at it was obvious racing would be a lottery later in the morning.

Day 1 Overview

There was not much to report from Day 1 of the UNSW Sunsprint Challenge. Apart from the scrutineering process and the visit to the Tyree Building for most of the day teams worked on their cars to get them ready for what would hopefully be an exciting day of racing on Saturday.

This was the view of the track for all of Day 1.

photo 1 (4)

Day 1 of the UNSW Sunsprint 2016

Our teams held high hopes this morning for a change in the forecast for inclement weather. Unfortunately there was little they could do as the rain tumbled down persistently throughout the day. There was not even a brief respite where cars could be tested on the track. It was a day of great frustration and all each team could do was fine tune their cars while they waited for the judges to scrutineer their designs ensuring compliance with the regulations.

While we waited for a break in the weather a number of students took advantage of a tour through the UNSW Tyree Energy Building by the Manager of the Design Assistance Division of the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energies, Rob Largent.

It was a real eye opener into the research and development happening at UNSW. The building itself was amazing and incorporated many innovations in renewable technologies.