It was a turbulent week for Solar Team Twente. Last week the team damaged its solar car RED X, with the world championships in Australia on the verge of kicking off. After a week of hard work to repair the damage, the students can now get back to testing and tuning the car. However, it will be a race against time to be ready in time for the race that will start in less than two weeks.
The accident over a week ago caused damage to the aeroshell of the car. This is the exterior of the car that gives the vehicle as a whole a low-drag shape.
“Comparable to the drag of a bottle of Coke”. Because of the damage, the exterior had to be rebuilt and painted in a few spots. Due in part to the drying time of the carbon fiber composite material and paint, the car spent a week in the workshop. “Incidents like this take away valuable testing time that we desperately need for race preparation.” says race engineer Kirsten Bouwman.
“So it will be quite a race against the clock. Due to the setbacks in recent weeks, we have had to revise the schedule and as a result we have not yet been able to carry out a number of essential tests and jobs.” In addition to the damage, the team also had to deal with a termite infestation earlier which meant that damaged materials such as tents had to be repurchased.
But now that the damage has been repaired and the car is back in good shape, the team can focus on the race again. “The technical systems in the car have remained undamaged and are still functioning as expected. The aerodynamic repairs are also beyond expectation. “That gives hope and confidence for a conducive, final week of testing.” Indeed, starting next week, scrutineering begins, the week in which all cars are technically inspected for safety requirements.