Roebling Road Raceway 4/28/07

Session 1 - Qualifying 9:20 AM

A successful test day builds confidence for the week end.

Confidence is a wonderful thing.



We finished charging the car last night. This morning the pack is 393 volts and 23 degrees Celsius. Air temperature is 18.5 degrees. All the cells are within 4.11 + or - .07.
We set the current limit to 500 amps.
The crew does the usual pre-race checks. The radiator fluid is a little low but it has been losing a little fluid each run. Odd though, we filled it last night after test day.
There are forty cars in our group and the session will be twenty minutes long. Our plan is to line up for our qualifying session just as the group before us goes on the track. This will mean we will start our qualifying session as one of the first cars on the track and have the best shot at getting a clear lap or two before traffic gets bad.
We get our timing perfect. The only car that makes the grid ahead of us is the Jim Kellogg's Mini-Cup BMW. This is a tube frame 1500 lb race car with a 7/8th scale plastic replica BMW body. The car is powered by an aluminum 2.5 liter motor. This car is half the weight of the Electric Imp and has a little bit more horsepower. The Mini-Cup cars are not actual a 'Production' based car but the SCCA decided that SPU was the best class to put them in.
Chasing Jim Kellogg's Mini-Cup


Jim was SPU SARCC Champion last year and is the favorite for this race. He will be extremely tough to beat. Starting qualifying behind him gives me an excellent opportunity to follow him around and look at his strengths and weaknesses.

The pit marshal waves us on to the track. We both accelerate hard. I come off the throttle as Jim slows a little to do the tire warming weave. For an instant, the Imp does not slow down. Then there is the 'clack' of the contactors dropping out. I cycle the switches and try and reboot the drive. No response.

And so go the fortunes of racing. One second you are chasing the leader, next you are waving everyone else by.

off the track
I aim the Imp clear of the track. An emergency vehicle pulls me to safety behind a corner worker station.
towing to safety

I signal that I am 'OK' and start to troubleshoot the problem. The computer reports an error condition of 'throttle position > 0'. I pump the throttle a few times to make sure it is not stuck 'on'. No change.

The team has prepared the car for potentiometer failure. I unbelt, open the hood and pull the connector from the throttle potentiometer to the controllers. We are using a dual potentiometer, so I can replug in the controller cable to the other lead.

I close the hood. Leap into the driver's seat and cycle the switches. Nothing. The computer still reports 'throttle position > 0'.

I remove my helmet and watch as 39 cars battle for a qualifying position


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