14 Oct BWSC 2019
From the middle of the Outback- hello everyone. I wish that I were writing this blog post as an exciting beginning of day update going into our third day of racing. Unfortunately I instead have to report that our team suffered a battery fire about 30 minutes outside of Darwin on Sunday morning, right as we were exiting the city after beginning our 2019 race. Our driver was able to safely stop and exit the car immediately after the first symptoms of the fire were noticed, and our chase vehicle crew was able to pull the battery pack out of Black Mamba before the fire grew to severe proportions, thereby saving the vehicle itself from burning. We are extremely thankful that no team members were harmed in this fire, and grateful for the help of Australian emergency services, WSC officials, and members of other teams who stopped to offer assistance. We also deeply appreciate the support of the solar car community at large, both our own alumni and members of other teams, during what has certainly been a difficult experience for our team.
Following this disappointing result in an endeavor which we were all so invested in, our team has found it helpful to focus on the positives: our pride in the calm and professional manner with which we were able to handle an emergency situation, the continuing experience of traveling the WSC race route alongside other teams, and the knowledge that the race is only the final step in the vast experience that is building one of these cars, getting it to Australia, and successfully qualifying to race. To all of our sponsors and supporters at home, thank you so much for helping us create this amazing opportunity; we’ve covered an incredible distance over several major hurdles in the past month and a half, and our time spent here has been invaluable.
Our team is composed of some incredible problem solvers and so this may not be the end for Black Mamba; we have had some initial discussions floating the idea of prepping the car to race in the American Solar Challenge. Even should this not become a reality, this experience has certainly prepared our younger team to come back strong next cycle ready to deal with the myriad of challenges that we face as a team in this competition. For now, however, we will focus on our travel back to Adelaide, where we can intensify our efforts to identify exactly what happened Sunday morning. We look forward to supporting our fellow teams along the way as much and as often as we are able.
See you on the other side!
Shihaab PuniaPosted at 20:28h, 14 October
Well written. I’m sure you all will be even stronger on the next race, ASC or otherwise. Best of luck from a Michigan alum. Keep racing hard and keep your spirits up! 🙂