Midnight Sun XII - University of Waterloo Solar Car - Post Competition (Final Update)

Monday, July 30, 2018

Today marks one week since MSXII crossed the finish line of the 2018 American Solar Challenge in Bend Oregon. The team has safely and triumphantly made it back to Waterloo and we wanted to take a moment to say one final thank you, as well as share some memories of the competition for those who were not able to follow us on social media.Unveiling MSXII

The month of June was excruciatingly busy for the team; jam packed with layups, panel fitting, final touches to the car and culminating with the reveal of MSXII at home in our design bay. Thank you to all those who made it out or who were able to follow the live stream, it was fantastic to see so many faces come out on the Canada Day long weekend and see MSXII for the first time.

With the reveal under our belts, we spent the next three and a half days getting the car race ready and gearing up for the drive down to Nebraska. Come Wednesday afternoon, we loaded the car into the trailer, waved goodbye to Engineering 5 and hit the road (only 1 hour behind schedule), hoping to reach our overnight stop in Detroit before sundown and then carry on to Nebraska the following day.

In Nebraska, we spent a week at the Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP) which served as the scrutineering and qualifying event for the American Solar Challenge (ASC). FSGP presented itself with no shortage of highs and lows. MSXII suffered a number of growing pains which gave us a delayed start on the track. The week was filled with many sleepless nights and literal blood, sweat, and tears shed in the fields of Nebraska as we troubleshooted electrical issues, tuned brakes and re-harnessed a motor out of the back of our trailer.

Overall the event was a fantastic learning experience for everyone. The team met dozens of people from other solar car teams who were welcoming and open to sharing knowledge about their successes and failures. Best of all, we saw our hard work pay off. MSXII drove a total of 114 laps of the track and over 400km in a span of two days; more than we’d ever seen the car do before. It was a nail biting end to the week for everyone at the track as well as teammates, friends and family watching back at home. Our late start meant that we fell short of the official necessary number of laps required to qualify for ASC. Nonetheless, an unwritten rule awarded us provisional qualification and the chance to carry on to the start line in Omaha.

Hastings, NebraskaWith a one day buffer between the end of FSGP and the start of ASC, the team was up late into the night making sure roadside assistance kits were packed and the car was well tuned for the starting gun. Come dawn, a quiet nervousness filled the air as we waited in anticipation for MSXII to drive on real roads and highways for the first time. Adding to the tension was the fact that our provisional qualification mandated we make it to the first checkpoint by 3:30pm in order to continue on in the race. Sure enough, the car moved slow and steady out of Omaha and through the corn fields, making it to Grand Island with just over 30 minutes to spare and marking our official qualification for ASC.

Over the next 8 days, we continued on and drove MSXII through the corn and soybean fields of Nebraska, the high deserts of Wyoming, the volcanic craters of Idaho and finally the rolling hills of Oregon. Following the car across the midwest was certainly an experience of a lifetime and filled with countless memories that the team will forever cherish. We met so many friendly people in the small towns along the way, curious about our endeavours and always willing to lend a hand.

Near Farson WyomingArriving in Bend was truly a moving experience for the team. After pouring our hearts and souls into the project for 2 years, we were overwhelmed with joy to see the car successfully finish the 2700km journey. We completed ASC in 3rd place and took home the perseverance award. Looking back, no accolade could summarize the past two years better; we’ve lost count of the number of times we thought we might never make the finish line but if there’s one thing our team is good at, it’s being stubborn and not giving up when things get rough.

It sure has been a wild ride over the past two years and we could not be more grateful that you decided to support our project. Every dollar made a huge difference and our sincere thanks go out to all the backers who helped us get to the finish line. This is our last Kick starter update but we hope you’ll keep following the team over social media and consider supporting our next solar car.

Many thanks and all the best from everyone on Midnight Sun!Awards banquet

CTV Kitchener was also there for our unveiling and did an evening story: https://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1430140

CTV also did a live interview with Minghao Ji while we were at comp: https://www.facebook.com/CTVNewsChannel/videos/1858824190845570/

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