Imagine racing down the road at 100 kilometres per hour in a space big enough for just one person, in 35-degree weather and no air conditioning.
Yesterday, four volunteer University of Calgary students prepared themselves for the North American Solar Challenge (NASC) by taking the Schulich 1 solar car they’ve designed for a test drive at high speeds at Race City.
Polina Andreychenko was first to try the car on the track and despite gloomy weather it was a great experience, though a bit nerve-wracking.
“We’ve been really looking forward to being out on the track,” she said. “At first, I gotta say it was scary.”
Comfort isn’t a commodity the students will have during the 4,000 km trip, taken in two five-hour intervals per day, split between two drivers. All drivers must be in top physical condition to survive the intense heat and physically demanding conditions they will be in, said project manager Darshni Pillay.
“It’s not like driving around in a regular car,” she said, noting hot yoga as a pre-race training method. “There’s no air conditioning, no power steering. You need to be out of the car in 10 seconds. That’s a safety thing.”