crew chief buckles me into the EV and then seals the canopy. I flick
on the switches and get the signal that the track is clear. The
EV accelerates and then coasts. The motor whirrs. The drive chain
has come off.
quickly try and re-install the chain without removing the bodywork.
It goes on but comes off just as quickly. Practice ends.
pull the bodywork and take a closer look. The top team, the Electrocutioners,
are pitted next to us. They point out that the motor gear and wheel
gear are slightly offset. This is something we missed in our chassis
alignment. The wheels are straight to each other but now the gear
on the rear wheel is not aligned with the motor.
washers under the wheel gear bolts might line them up. Our neighbors
have 3 washers. My crew chief checks with the other teams and manages
to borrow more.
work as fast as we can but the race gets the green flag while we
are still buttoning up the vehicle. We are a lap down as I enter
the track. The chain stays on.
lack of testing mean we have no idea of the capacity of our batteries
and what current we can run. I tuck in behind the leader and run
his pace. This offers the dual benefit of saving power (by drafting)
and giving me a current setting for the pace we need to run.
is pretty busy in the cockpit. I am in a fully reclined position.
My steering is two hand levers. The throttle is a on/off button
on the top of the left steering lever. There is also a mini lever
mounted on the left steering lever that controls the maximum current
available. I have a meter strapped to my thigh that I must check
to get a rough idea of how much current I am using.
brakes are operated by my feet. The left lever brakes the left wheel.
The right lever brakes the right wheel. This is clever for braking
the Super Coupe into a corner but tricky if you need to brake in
a straight line.
helmet visor is open since I am in a fully enclosed cockpit but
keeps closing over the bumps and then fogging up.
have to reach over with my right hand to perform fine adjustments
on the Max Current mini lever but these are nullified as I go through
a turn and my left hand, controlling the steering, keeps accidentally
nudging the mini lever.
need to focus on the battle around me. I am drafting the leader
as closely as possible to get maximum advantage but need to mirror
his driving style better or I throw away any energy gained from
drafting by having to use the brakes to avoid hitting him.
gearing is wrong and the motor lugs coming out of the corner. This
means the six other vehicles involved in the battle for the lead
start jockeying for a pass. I bump up the Max Current and then try
and re-adjust it before I over-run the leader.
goes on lap after lap with the constant challenges of passing back
markers, avoiding the high curbs, and watching the mirrors for surprise
passing attempts. Time flies and I see the start line official show
crossed green and white flags.
most forms of racing, the white flag is shown to indicate last lap.
The Super Coupe is still feeling perky, so I crank up the power
and pass the leader. This puts me back on the lead lap. I go fast
to gain back as much time as possible.
around the corner and there is no checkered flag. Someone is holding
up a pit board saying "30 minutes". I see my crew chief.
He is hand signing "30 minutes". Oops, crossed green and
white flags must mean "half way".
in behind another fairly fast EV. His vehicle is wide in the rear
and offers a good draft. We are all alone, so I can focus on smoothing
out my driving and noticing things. I see my crew taking pictures
and checking my speed with his Radar gun. I wish we had had enough
time to set up the radios so we could discuss strategy.
around the 45 minute mark, the motor cuts out. I coast into our
pit. My crew chief checks over the outside. He finds and secures
a dragging wire. It is just the USB cable to communicate with the
motor controller and should not be causing the problem. The motor
comes back to life and I re-enter the track. The motor quits again
and I roll into the second set of pits. I climb out. Our race is