Collapsing cranes and cantankerous cars

Another day at the solar races

We hooked up again with the Durham University team, who are mounting their challenge on a comparatively modest budget and number of people on the ground. They kindly let us have a closer look at how their car is put together.

Here's a general view of the machine with its lid off:

A general view of the car's inner workings

The driver's cockpit is hardly luxurious. The string-operated lever thing at the bottom of the snap is the "pilot ingress assist support" - a retractable step which allows the driver to step nimbly into the car without treading on the solar panels. We at the SPB salute this very British piece of engineering:

The driver cockpit

They're difficult to see, but behind the battery box are a simple accelerator and brake. There's also a hand brake, for when you need to park up and nip into a bottle shop for a quick livener.

The battery box, accelerator and brake pedals

The car features a rear-mounted camera - a race requirement we gather - which is monitored from inside the cockpit...

The monitor for the rear-mounted camera

...and you can see here looking out over the rear wheel:

The rear-mounted camera looking over the rear wheel

Finally, here's some of the wiring which keeps the whole thing ticking over:

Some of the car's wiring

So, you're asking yourselves, does it work or what? The answer is yes, and here's Durham's mean machine giving the track some stick:

The Durham team's car whizzes around the track

Tomorrow, the teams will be back at the track for final scrutineering and speed trials. We'll be back too, to check that out and get our briefing for our own drive to Adelaide in pursuit of the World Solar Challenge combatants. ®

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