posted on July 18: Sun goes down on solar car dream


[img_inline align=”right” src=”” caption=”Fireball at race starting line”]No. 13 has proved to be completely unlucky for Fireball, McMaster's solar car.

The solar car team withdrew from the 4000-kilometre American Solar Challenge race yesterday because a number of obstacles had made it too difficult to proceed. They were in Rolla, Missouri when they withdrew.

The team chose No. 13 for their entry hoping it would prove to be a lucky charm but the number lived up to its reputation of signifying bad luck.

The team suffered a series of setbacks with Fireball, including a flat tire and the solar panel flipping and needing repairs, since making the qualifier race at Western Michigan University last week and starting the race in Chicago on Sunday.

The team wasn't able to make various checkpoints and that meant they were accruing penalties that were insurmountable in terms of being a viable competitor.

Communications have been difficult and at one point the car's driver lost contact with the support vehicle. The Daily News has been unable to communicate with the team on the road.

The race, which follows historic Route 66 and includes teams from the Universities of Waterloo, Toronto and Alberta, ends July 25 in California.

(Photo courtesy of Western Michigan University)