As I scan thru the Live chat sessions, I am starting to get a distinct flavor of disappointment and frustration from the former team members that participate. A few of them were mulling over the possible causes of why Generation doesn't seem to have the top speed that other teams are showing. The speculation is that the aero package is not right and is costing the car in terms of performance (speed and energy consumption). In all fairness, this is the first time UM Solar has built a 4 wheel car in a long time. Due to changes in the rules (because some teams experienced instability with three wheels) existing data sets, from which you can base calculations, aren't really valid. However, with the support of ex-team members these issues could have been addressed, quickly.
Yesterday's run had another natural factor causing issues; wind. Cross winds not only make things difficult due to aero but create mechanical trouble, too. Have a look at this tire:
That's worn right down to the Kevlar cords and perhaps past them. This is simply from the wind pushing the car sideways and the driver countersteering to keep the car on the road.
Sadly, those very same cross winds caught out Generation as they turned into the Coober Pedy control stop. A strong cross wind gust caught the car and forced it off the road, damaging it severely enough that they could not continue. The WSC is showing that the car was put on a trailer but that does not seem to be the case. The team will fix the car and they will finish.
The top five, again, remian static. Nuna7 and Tokai Challenger are approximately 125 km from Adelaide. That's just a few hours of racing left, for those two teams. What's far more interesting is the battle between RED (Team Twente), in third and Luminos (Stanford) in fourth. Fourteen minutes separates them on the clock. However, they're both about 300 km behind the front two. So, they've got a full day of racing, ~425 km, ahead of them. Even more interesting is the weather. According to some ex-UM Solar weather experts (and each solar team has a group of these folks), there will be increasing clouds and a significant possibility of rain as they approach Adelaide and the coast. So, the final results will be impacted by; weather, State of Charge (how much electricity in the batteries) and the ability to get a charge from the evening and morning sun. It should be an interesting finish.