Those of you who do things like notice what time a post is published will see that I am still up though it is the wee hours of the morning. What might be keeping me up? Certainly not our car, for it was working at end of today, and we decided there was no use fixing things that ain't broke. The reason I lie awake is my undying love of Canada, but more specifically of the Canadian teams are that the Shell Eco-Marathon. Let me give you a quick run-down on the hierarchy and politics of Canada - don't worry, Stephen Harper won't be mentioned, although I will cover all of the juiciest insider gossip.
Université Laval - Easily the most hardworking team. They are dedicated past the point of obsession, and I'm beginning to wonder if I'm being gluttonous by sleeping 5 hours each night. They are quite nice, but be wary of attempting to communicate with them in their native French; they don't appreciate watching you do the Canadien Struggle. All joking aside, I'm sure that somewhere deep down they have emotions, but I don't think they've gotten around the tuning them yet.
University of Toronto - For their second showing at the Shell Marathon, the UofT decided to build their own engine. I'd like to emphasize this. U OF T BUILT AND DESIGNED A WHOLE ENGINE, and they are the only team in the Americas to do so. By their own words, this masterpiece is "stupidly efficient" and indeed they are neck and neck with Laval, despite not finishing engine tuning and not having a proper driver strategy. My inner engineer turns to jelly around UofT, but I'm getting good at recovering from this.
University of Waterloo - For their first-ever Shell Eco-Marathon, these brave souls (all MecE's by the way) attempted to build and program their own motor controller. This is a new requirement for battery electric vehicles this year. I have been told by a trusted source that they are unofficially third in their category based on test runs, but they are unable to qualify since they were forced to use a store-bought motor controller.
University de Sherbrooke - I have yet to investigate this rags-to-riches story fully, but I'm excited to meet the famous USherbrooke tomorrow. These folks built a very well-polished battery electric UrbanConcept car in 2 years, complete with a poster presentation at their paddock. So far, they happen to be leading their category by AN ORDER OF MAGNITUDE (325 vs. 34 km/kWh). Lastly, they've accomplished this without ever noticing that this is their first Eco-Marathon ever. Wow.
UBC - One of the most prepared and well-established teams, UBC arrived with their UrbanConcept and prototype gasoline cars. Unfortunately, they've been having trouble with their systems: the UrbanConcept stalled at 9.5 laps and the prototype stalled at 8.5 laps (out of 10). Regardless, they have as generous and helpful as always. It's a genuine pleasure to have UBC to work next to.
Queen's University - This team has been in existence for only 7 months, yet they've managed to get a gasoline prototype on the track already. They're also the only team that believes in getting your vehicle done before getting to the marathon. As a result of having nothing left to fix, patch, or tune on their car, Queen's has been frequenting the local establishments in the area, trying to get acquainted with the urban Houston culture. This evening, I had the pleasure of joining them on their escapades, so I can testify that they are the go-to team for insight into Houston's most liquid culture.
Cia Wu - To be precise, not a team does one lady make but Cia comes damn close. We'd like to extend a big thank you to Cia for supporting all the teams from Canada and being awesome in general. Clearly, the Shell Eco-Marathon and our teams were a match made in heaven.
In other words, Canada is kicking butt. This means that I should probably get to bed if I want to make sure we join the ranks of our brother tomorrow. Godspeed!