Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Solar Racing in the land of no sun

 Metz is no Alaska but since I can only remember 2 sunny days in the last month or so doesn't a solar car race seem funny? Well, for our purposes, even a sunny day wouldn't have been reliable enough so when GTL hosted its OSA sponsored solar car race last week we stayed inside with a 500w light that was masterfully attached to a wheeled desk chair and a race course laid out in tape.

In all there was something like 10 participants and while not everyone's car cooperated with the conditions, it was obvious that they had all put a lot of work into the design. This is our friend Seth racing his speedy little car. He did well as you'll see later.

 While the participants raced, the rest of us stood around the outside eating snacks and acting like paparazzi. 

And here's Siri re-directing her car back into bounds. While many of the cars were very speedy, most tended to veer one way or another forcing the racer to re-direct the car which added 5 seconds on to the final race time. 

Katrina's car was uncooperative at the beginning but after some tinkering and pep talk from Amanda, they go it working like a charm.

And finally, after lots of patient waiting, it was Michael's turn to race.

And he did great! Notice the open mouthed surprise of the timers.

The winners: (L to Rt) 3rd place -- Seth, 1st place -- Michael,  and 2nd place -- Eli and his partner (don't know his name, help undergrads!)

The happy and unexpected winner

Seth and Michael showing off their prize money, which we subsequently blew on expensive wine and chicken that we've been too frugal to buy so far.

I've saved the best for last. You see, the reason Michael's car did so well is because it was so stable, and the reason it was so stable is...

Yup, he made it out of a sardine can. If he hadn't needed to tape on that stupid solar panel it certainly would have won the prize for most fashionable. A big thanks goes to Sarah who passed on these yummy sardines when she moved back to the states.


  1. love it! glad we got to see this, & congrats again, michael :)

  2. Michael...good job...and you looked "charming" indeed, accepting your prize!!!

  3. Wow! Congrats Speed Racer! And now that it's all said and done ... can you please send that mega sun watt our way? :)