The mock race was off to a start at 8:00am in our fourth week, matching the starting time of the World Solar Challenge. We began in Coober Pedy, the ‘Opal Mining Capital of the World’, and set off north towards Marla, essentially a gas station on the side of the Stuart Highway. There we stopped for 30 minutes for the first “control stop.” These same control stops will occur during WSC, allowing for driver swaps, convoy vehicle refueling, and bathroom and food breaks. After Marla, the convoy continued north to the border of South Australia and the Northern Territory. We are only allowed to test in South Australia, so we continued back down to Marla for our second control stop.
We finished out the day at 5:00pm between Marla and Coober Pedy, camping in “the bush” for the first time. Although we have been camping for more than a week, the bush is quite different: no bathrooms and campsite lighting, spider eyes reflecting on the ground, and an unbelievable number of stars.
The next morning the team was up before sunrise to prepare for array standing. As soon as the sun was up, we normalized the array and began water cooling it. At 8:00am, the team traveled south towards Coober Pedy for our next control stop. We continued down to Glendambo, another miniscule town off the Stuart Highway, and then went back north towards Coober Pedy, which we reached after 4:30pm for the last control stop. We stayed there for the evening, and finished the control stop in the morning.
The race concluded back in Marla within the first few hours of the third day. We were very pleased with Arctan’s performance and the strategy data gathered. Stay posted as we perform the last of our testing before heading north to Darwin for final preparations and scrutineering before WSC 2015.