Australia Week 3: Outback Testing

G’day from the Outback! Having ensured Arctan was road-ready, prepared our convoy vehicles, and bid farewell to the amazing folks at Solitaire Automotive Group, we left the streets of Adelaide last Wednesday to begin our Outback testing.

We trailered Arctan to Glendambo, where our testing route began. On Thursday morning the race crew conducted mock pit-stops, which tested our coordination and ability to think on our feet. We’ll be refining our wheel-changing dance in the weeks leading up to the race start, so that pit stops take up minimal time in actual race scenarios.

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Reaching for that Formula 1 pit-stop

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Jamie demonstrates the thrill of wheel swaps

Thursday afternoon saw us take to the road with Arctan. The team spent the rest of the day performing controlled speed runs and debugging electrical gremlins along a 20km section of the Stuart Highway. We also ran into our colleagues from the University of Michigan testing their solar car, Aurum, along the same stretch of road. Between our respective convoys, I’m sure we gave the area its fair share of excitement! After the day’s testing, the two teams met up for a friendly show-and-tell.

After a successful morning of driving, Arctan pulls off the road for a lunch break

After a successful morning of driving, Arctan pulls off the road for a lunch break

Here's the crew!

Here’s the crew!

On Friday we left our Glendambo campsite and drove to Coober Pedy, with some more controlled speed runs along the way. Arctan managed the drive admirably, and our drivers got valuable experience navigating road trains and crosswinds. After a good night’s rest, we spent Saturday morning performing mechanical and electrical checks to evaluate how our car had fared over its first two days of Outback driving. After swapping back to our main race motors, we resumed driving in the afternoon, and performed another set of controlled speed runs in the vicinity of Coober Pedy.

Mechanical checks our essential and routine

Mechanical checks are essential and routine

Nice and clean

Nice and clean

 

 

After three days of rigorous testing, the team took Sunday off to see the sights in Coober Pedy and regroup before our first mock race in the Outback. We visited one of the town’s famous opal mines, petted kangaroos, and enjoyed a sumptuous dinner at a fabulous underground motel. The electrical team also got a chance to debug some motor controller issues.

Beautiful day in Coober Pedy, SA

Beautiful day in Coober Pedy, SA

Over the next three days, we will be conducting a mock race between Glendambo and the South Australia/Northern Territory border. We’re eager to see how we fare as a race crew, and how our strategy models hold up in racing conditions! Stay tuned for our next update from Down Under.

Emily Henriksson prepares for the morning shift of our mock race from Coober Pedy

Emily Henriksson prepares for the morning shift of our mock race from Coober Pedy

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5 Comments
  • Nigel
    Posted at 16:40h, 28 September Reply

    Have teams been given permission to drive on The Stuart Highway prior to the race this time around?
    I thought that testing was usually only allowed on the Cox Peninsular Road.

    • Kelsey Josund
      Kelsey Josund
      Posted at 00:15h, 04 October Reply

      Yes! Teams can apply for permission to test on the Stuart Highway in South Australia, and several have done so. We’ve crossed paths with Michigan near Glendambo and seen Cambridge as well. We think most teams are testing only on the Peninsula, however.

  • Chris Gerdes
    Posted at 05:36h, 29 September Reply

    Great to see the pictures of the team and see Arctan soaking up the Australian sun! You are looking awesome on that wheel change and I’m sure you’ll find the time to match!

  • Jeff Gordon
    Posted at 14:41h, 08 October Reply

    Great to see the pics and journal postings as you head towards the starting line ! Looking forward to tracking the race in the days ahead.

  • Malcolm Amos
    Posted at 03:55h, 18 October Reply

    Have you shown the folks back in the USA the photos of some of our road trains you meet along the way, re their length etc, plus the kangaroos
    Safe driving
    See you back in Adelaide

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