There’s a reason it’s called the “Tilt Test”

TiltDSC_2174After Tech inspection each team’s car has to go through a few more tests before it’s certified to race.

The most unorthodox is the tilt table, which tests each car’s center of gravity. Each team must push their pride and joy up on the platform where General Motors volunteer Ibrahim Mohamed attaches a safety strap and gives the order to start the pneumatic jacks.

The car (and driver) is raised sideways, first to a 45 degree angle, then to an awkward and nerve-racking 60+ degrees. If all four tires remain on the rails, then you’re good to go. Most pass; some don’t.

While it’s up at that there safety inspectors also check for fuel or oil leaks. No leak, no problem. Should drips appear you have some work to do, so things get kinda tense.

With many dozens of cars to test, officials have been known to get bored, and boredom often begets mischief. This afternoon one fire official sewed panic when he proclaimed “You’ve sprung a leak!” to one skittish team. Frantic students raced to see the source while the now-grinning worker pointed out “Here! You sprung a dust leak!”

It took the students a few seconds to realize they’d been scammed, and only then did they think it was funny.