May 21-22, 2005

Homestead-Miami Speedway

The team is looking forward to racing at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. The track is close to the race shop. It is modern and has great amenities including 50 amp 220 volt outlets. This means we can recharge the car 6 times faster than from the standard 15 amp 120 volt plug.

For me, the track is a new challenge. I have never raced on it. My only exposure has been driving some slow laps in a street car. At least I know which way to turn.

There is no test day to learn the track and dial in the car. Our first time on the track will be a fifteen minute qualifying session.

While the car today is at it's highest state of development, it is not to the point where problems are rare. At an autocross the week before, the DOS laptop we use to communicate with the Siemens inverters died. We try to use an XP laptop as a replacement, but it proves erratic.

Session 1

Qualifying -10:13 am May 21

I am belted in and ready to go as qualifying starts. Our computer specialist reboots the data acquisition computer and desperately tries to reacquire a connection with one of the inverters. We can hear the other cars going onto the track.

We need data to calculate our range but we need time on the track more.

The computer guru pulls the laptop and the crew chief waves me out.

I am reaching pit exit as the pack comes by on their first lap.

I pull out behind, hard on the throttle. The car responds. Two turns and I have caught my first car. By the end of the lap I have passed 5 cars.

I am still gauging the grip, learning the track and working my way up to speed.

I am passing cars because the Imp is simply very fast in a straight line.

As I learn the track and begin to shorten my braking distances, I find the car hard to stop and I am overshooting my apexes. The brakes will not lock the tires.

Traffic is clearing a little. I 'only' pass two cars on the second lap. Coming out of the tight last corner, I get a little power-on oversteer. The car over rotates and I lose momentum.

Half way through the third lap, smoke appears beneath my seat. I pull off the track and wait. The smoke disappears. I drive back to the pits.

We pull the seat and battery cover.

One of the 'sense' leads is burnt. It runs from one battery tab, under another and to the BMS board. The edge of the tab has chaffed and worn through the insulation. The wire shorted and burned away.

There is not a lot of time to the race. The pack is at 340 volts when we put it on charge. The 50 amp 220 volt socket allows the PFC50 to charge the pack at around 30 amps!

The pack is fully charged, 365.4 volts an hour and 55 minutes later.

Our qualifying lap was a 1:51.9. This puts us 2 in SPU, 14 out of 37 cars.

Qualifying Homestead Speedway 052105

 
 
 


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April 17, 2005
May 21, 2005 Session 2

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