Information on this blog is raw and sometimes unverified reporting straight from the road by teams. The event will issue a media release for any events requiring an official notification.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Michigan: Reflections

Dear Friends, Family and Fans of the Michigan Solar Car Team,

I am Bob Culver, one of the faculty advisors of the team and I have just returned from Australia and would like to share some perspectives with you.

I often say that the Solar Car experience is a self-awareness or awakening of sorts, allowing students to find their own limits – what they can do and what they cannot do. Well, I was half right. This team was tested often. It started with a structural failure in the bulkhead just a few days before they were scheduled to leave for Australia. The team quickly analyzed and fixed the problem such that the resulting structure was stronger than ever. Then came the dust devil in Australia that almost destroyed the array that you have read about in the blog. And then, of course, was the accident. After a short period of shock and a few tears, the team began the arduous task of rebuilding the front end of Continuum. No one needed any inspirational speeches as everyone was working with determination and purpose as soon as the car was back to the Darwin racetrack. It was truly amazing and inspiring to see the car rebuilt and ready for racing in about 10 hours. This team responded to everything and anything that was thrown at them. So, pardon the double negative, the Continuum team never found out what they couldn’t do!

During the qualifying week, the Continuum team continued the Michigan tradition of helping other teams. The team let the Venezuela team borrow a motor when many of their parts got stuck in customs. And the team, with Chito’s help, built a new wheel hub for the Malaysian team after an accident during a qualifying run destroyed their only hub. What goes around, comes around. At the accident scene, a local Darwin gentleman happened by to see the damage. When he saw the damage, he said he had a friend who was an expert in carbon fiber composites. We called the expert, Mr. Mike Butler, and he joined us back at the racetrack pits. Mike brought with him some fast curing resin which turned out the be critical to getting the repairs done quickly.

A special thanks to all the sponsors of this team. You have enabled an experience of a lifetime for a very special group of kids. They may not have finished first, but this team is definitely a group of winners.