In the function ‘structural’ Gijs Rolff was responsible for the solar car’s structural design. He is now ‘head of technical’ and so it us up to him to make the car roadworthy both before and after a test day.
Saturday night, half past one. ‘I am finally going to sleep after a long night of hard work. The test crew came back at 20:00 hours after which I could get to work on the car together with the service crew. Unfortunately not everything went like clockwork. When Mark and I wanted to attach the canopy (the cockpit; the hood that covers the driver) to the panel, we found out that the canopy did not fully close up. Something had probably warped. Since we could not find the cause straight away, we decided to continue working on the other tasks. The following day, when the panel is on top of the car, we would test how the canopy would close up to it. That could possibly be the problem’.
During the day
‘I got up at 08:00 hours. I wanted to go to the workshop quickly to be there before the test team headed out. The canopy had to be fixed first after all. We put the panel on the car with five of us. And guess what? The canopy closed up perfectly! When the panel is on the car, it is being pulled somewhat straighter and that fixed the problem.
The rest of the day I got on to do the tasks for which I do not need the car. For example checking the material supplies needed for the solar car. In other words: I keep a close eye on the ‘technical shopping list’ and decide where the priorities lie.
Next, I started putting together an adjustable elbow support for the drivers. When driving the car, the driver has to keep the steering wheel as steady as possible to prevent the car from swaying. This is a tricky thing to do without support; you would have to flex your muscles for four hours. The driver can relax his muscles a bit when he has support’.
The test crew returns at 19:00 hours. ‘First I joined the test crew to discuss everything that went right and wrong. Then I checked all error lists to track any electrical and mechanical errors. And lastly I scheduled who had to repair what error so I could get back to work with the service crew’!
Curious to see how Gijs will perform during the race? A video of the racing day will be posted online the same day!