Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I remember growing up watching the Wide Wide World of Sports. The announcer would boom out "The thrill of victory . . ." and then he would growl, ". . . and the agony of defeat!"

WikiSpeed hit a wall today. Literally. We have hit several figurative walls in the past few weeks. We had a broken axle, wiring weirdness, and an overheated engine, but this was different. This was spectacular. And just like the skier on the Wide Wide World of Sports, it made us all cringe.

This is what Joe wrote:
WikiSpeed and I were introduced to a course cement wall. All people involved are fine, no injuries (just a scratch on my head, maybe a bruise). Wiki's crush zones worked exactly as calculated, which is reassuring. I do need to figure how to get a few hard-to-obtain parts here same day---I'll be making parts and reassembling tomorrow.

So what happened? I was going wide on a turn to clear some track debris (some screws sticking up out of a broken hinge/board that I thought could puncture Wiki's tires) and realized I was going too wide and headed for the wall. I panic stopped---stomped on the clutch and brake. Well, in Wiki, due to a late-night wiring incident, the accelerator is were the clutch would be. I stomped on the gas and the brake. The gas won, and I accelerated into the wall. The front-right wheel and bumper took the load, crushing neatly and in order of aluminum grade---softest bumper first, then intermediary post, and barely a deformation on the final absorption barrier before communicating load to the much more rigid frame/passenger cell. The tie-rod end flexed beautifully---with a yield strength about half its ultimate strength---preventing the steering rack from banging my legs. The expensive Skunk2 ProC custom damper package was also a casualty, unfortunately, and I'm not quite sure where or how I'll get one of those by tomorrow, but I'm definitely gonna try.
I think the thing that strikes me most about this is that Joe seems to always hear one voice in his head. It is always about "The thrill of victory!" It is victory for good gas mileage, victory for living green, victory for crush zones. It is victory for the average consumer. It may even be victory in the X PRIZE.

So go, Joe, go! Bring on the 100 mpg supercar. WikiSpeed for the win!

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