Our team arrived to Houston on March 29th with both HotRod and ThunderDawg and got straight to work! For the rest of Thursday, our team reassembled the vehicles and got them ready for technical inspection on the following day. Also on Thursday, the Louisiana Tech University Engineering and Science Board had a dinner where a few of our team members were able to attend. These students shared their stories and experiences of this past year and their excitement with the upcoming competition.
On Friday, March 30th, our vehicles started going through technical inspection. Both HotRod and Roadster did not have the required 10cm of clearance from the bottom of the wheel pods to the ground. Our team ended up having to cut off some of the bottom of the wheel pods in order to meet this regulation. By the end of the day, both HotRod and Roadster made it through technical inspection and all four drivers were certified. We also had issues with the brakes and fuel line of ThunderDawg. After much brainstorming and adjustments, ThunderDawg passed technical inspection Saturday, March 31st.
On Saturday, HotRod and Roadster both made complete runs. On the sixth lap of HotRod’s run, the right rear tire was flat. Even though we had a flat, we finished the last four laps to complete the run. On later runs, two tires were popped on HotRod. These tires were repaired and tubes were replaced in order to get the vehicle back on the road. Our Roadster vehicle did very well on the track. We were pleased with its performance, but we wanted to improve so we made some minor adjustments to the vehicle. As for ThunderDawg, the car went out on the track for the first time. After not getting up to speed and the unstable steering, ThunderDawg was taken back to the pit after one lap to work on these issues. Our team brainstormed and worked very hard to fix these issues.
On Sunday, April 1st, all three cars got on the track. On ThunderDawg’s first run, the vehicle rolled over multiple times. The driver was not injured and the engine and all mechanical components were also okay. After temporarily fixing the body and tuning the engine more, ThunderDawg went back on the track but did not complete a successful run because of a fuel leak. As for Roadster, one of the tires popped on one of its runs. Because we had no replacements for the tire and we did not want to jeopardize the future running of Roadster, we decided to retire Roadster for this competition. HotRod made several great runs, improving fuel efficiency with each run.
We are ecstatic and very proud to announce that Louisiana Tech University Eco-Car Team won 1st place in the Urban Concept Diesel category with 488.7mpg and 2nd place in the Urban Concept Gasoline category with 322.2 mpg. We also were awarded with the Design Award for our HotRod vehicle and the Best Team Spirit Award. We are so very proud of our team and all of their hard work they have put in this year. We are very thankful and grateful for the outstanding support from our great sponsors, alumni, school, families, and faculty advisors. Our team is thrilled with our performance and is ready to come back to compete in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas next year! See you in 2013!