Light Rain Gives Way To Blue Skies. Briefly.

A light rain gave way to clear skies around 10:00 a.m. local time, but the clouds have closed up again leaving Formula Sun Grand Prix with just enough sunlight to cast a slight shadow. That may be enough to keep solar cars running at consistent speeds, and to keep the afternoon’s laps exciting enough to keep the public interested.
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Solar Miner VII seems to have put all its difficulties behind, at least for now. Justin Reynolds is flying around the course, keeping pace with, if not pulling away from, race leader Minnesota.
The Golden Gophers have been running steadily since Thursday morning when they jumped out to a lead that Illinois State and Northwestern have been unable to close, and pulling away from 4th-place Iowa State. The Miners essentially forfeited any chance to run with the pack by sitting out days 1 and 2 to get the car straightened out.
Now they have to figure out their power consumption. That’ll guide their strategy, because if they drive too fast they’ll end up on the side of the road, waiting for the sun to refill their tanks, so to speak.
The real value of Formula Sun? Some teams (Michigan) is using FSGP to break in a new car. Newcomer Michigan State is fielding a car that should become the foundation of a long-term group project. Others, including S&T, are getting their younger team members some valuable experience. The Miners are already making a list of do’s and dont’s they’ll incorporate into the next design. Which, by the way, David Long and Dan Leafblad plan to start on next week.