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Mishap on the Track

In the mid-afternoon, Borealis II had a mishap on the track. Coming down the front straight, the rear tire lost pressure (due to wear) and the car suffered a 180° spin, smacking the left rear corner of the car against a metal guardrail. The driver, Tom Whipple, felt okay, but was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Borealis II suffered considerable damage during the impact. The left, rear-most solar cell module was destroyed and that corner of the body was also cracked. Inside, the rear non-structural portion of the chassis had broken main supports and the rear top-shell bulkhead was torn apart.

The race crew leapt into immediate action, securing the safety of the driver, and rapidly evaluating the damage and readying a solution. The broken chassis supports were lashed in place and the bulkhead was partially removed and replaced with a new panel bridging the remaining two solid sections on either side. The broken solar module and attached turn signal were taped in place and Borealis II was back on the track.

The entire array, aerodynamic, electrical and mechanical systems were thoroughly reviewed and pronounced healthy. The entire pit stop repair, including the lap prior was approximately 1 hr 21 min. Kudos to the teamwork and ingenuity showed by the team during the repair.

UPDATE: A few pictures of the accident and the ensuing repairs.

2004-05-20_mishap-1 2004-05-20_mishap-2

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