Darwin is extremely humid, all the time, every day. I have learned to live with a persistent layer of sticky sweat on my skin. The air conditioning at the rental house has been great. Darwin must be a forerunner in air conditioning technology, because every building here makes air conditioning a top priority.
Other than enjoying sleeping in a temperate environment, the team here is knee-deep in solar car happenings. All the solar car teams have conglomerated in Darwin in preparation for the race. Even though I know myself to be wrong, a small part of me still believes that the start of the race will be like a track start — the lineup of 43 cars, then the gun blast, and the mad chaos as the cars elbow each other out of the way and sort themselves out. In fact, teams will actually be spaced out based on a timed hot lap so that no cars (and convoys) have to shove each other out of the way… for the most part, I think.
It has been very cool to meet other solar car teams and see what the other teams have built over the past two years. My views on solar car racing quickly paralleled my views on the National Hockey League — why can’t we all be friends and just form one giant hockey team??? versus why can’t we all be friends and just form one giant solar car team??? But actually, there are so many cool engineers and personalities from all over the globe who have been doing the exact same thing as us for the past two years — we should be friends.
Stanford went through static scrutineering on the first of three days, where we got to see a bunch of solar cars (including Nuon and Michigan) all corralled up for inspection. Hayden and I became the Official Media Team for Stanford and, with the addition of some very official-looking yellow vests, were allowed onto the scrutineering floor for Media Purposes. It was a neat opportunity to document the entire scrutineering process as well as check out the other cars.
The next step was track practice at Hidden Valley. The Official Media Team valiantly documented Arctan on the track. Hayden and I took photos from a perch overlooking the track, then a clear shot at the straightaway, then the middle of the track, then a tower.
The next day, we went back to Hidden Valley for some final practice sessions. It was more of the same for the Official Media Team. I don’t really care for action photography, but I did get some cool motion blur shots of Arctan and other cars too, including a Cruiser class car that I deemed The Sushi Car for its sushi-like appearance (no further explanation will be provided).
We ended the day with a pool party/dinner buffet at Anna’s dad’s hotel and organized by Jamie’s mom. The hotel was called Travelodge but was definitely not of the chain motel variety and blew all my expectations out of the water. The hotel was located in the city centre, which I got to see for the first time. The city centre was very different from the lazy suburb where our rental house is located. I had a great time relaxing by the pool and eating ravioli.
Tomorrow is dynamic scrutineering, when all the teams will run their hot laps. The Official Media Team is very excited to get motion blur shots of all the different solar cars.
Let’s get a drum roll for the race!