by Jeroen Haringman
Today, Friday October 10th, 2014, was the day of testing and scrutineering before the 2014 European Solar Challenge. In the morning the teams could drive test laps around the Zolder race track, and in the afternoon all the cars were checked to see if they met all the regulations. As I’ve never visited a solar racing event before, both parts were very interesting to watch.
I have taken many, many photos today, and I have posted many of them on the Facebook and Twitter pages. I don’t have time to sort through all of them now (the day will start early again tomorrow), so this post will not contain any photos. Many of them (especially the night photos) need some editing work. When I’ve had time to sort through them, I’ll create a Facebook photo album and/or a post here on the web page with a selection of the nicest photos.
For me today started at 08:00 with a breakfast with World Solar Challenge organiser / celebrity Chris Selwood, which was great! Around 09:00 the cars could get on the race track, and all the teams did several test laps. Many of the teams had telemetry monitoring stations set up next to the track, which could quickly read out data from the car as it passed by. Both the cars of the Turkish Solaris team and of the French Eco Solar Breizh team, broke down, and had to be returned to the pits. Both, however, were quickly fixed, and back in action for the scrutineering.
Scrutineering started with the static part, where the car is measured, and the teams have to prove certain safety features. After a car had passed this, dynamic scrutineering followed with a brake test and a U-turn to prove the turning radius is not to large. Around 16:00, all seven cars had passed both scrutineering parts, and that means we’ll have a full field tomorrow at the starting line.
I also attended the driver safety briefing, given by Tony Eyckmans, who’s been the track’s safety officer for more than 35 years. The drivers were explained the meaning of several flags that can be flown in several situations, light signals and what to do in the event a pace car will be sent onto the track. Again, as I have no race experience at all, this was very interesting. I also attended a strategy meeting, where one of the organisers explained how the handicap system will work that will allow very different cars (Cruiser and Challenger class) cars to run against each other as fairly as possible.
In the evening, the teams once more had the opportunity to drive test laps, this time around the dark track.
Tomorrow, the teams will race all day, from 09:00 until 19:00, with a break from 13:00-14:00. During that break, the public can drive/ride electric vehicles on the track. I’m going to see if I can drive a BMW i3 for a bit
The weather forecast for tomorrow does predict some rain, but not as much as it has been predicting in the past few days:
This image is static. For an updated weather forecast, please check an updated version.
Tomorrow, I’ll be updating the Facebook and Twitter channels again, so be sure to keep an eye on that!