It was just announced that the 2019 Eco-Marathon Americas will be held again at Sonoma Raceway in California. Last year’s competition was beautiful, with perfect weather and great conditions. The staff (and sheep) were very welcoming to our team! The track is wide and smooth, which makes for great racing. Last year, Shell put on a fantastic event that we’re looking forward to competing at again this year!
However, one consideration with racing in western California, with a racetrack built into the side of a hill... is that it’s hilly. There’s a substantial elevation change from the start line at the bottom of the course to the far end. In a supermileage vehicle, the goal is to drive at a consistent speed the entire time, to minimize total air drag. When going down the hill, its impossible not to exceed the average race speed of 15 mph.
Additionally, going up the hill requires a motor that’s sized appropriately. During the race last year, there were a few vehicles that got stuck on the hill, unable to climb it. This is an additional design consideration when choosing the best motor size.
Since our team wanted to know the layout of the track precisely to optimize our strategy, we mapped the track last year during the competition. We used an RTK GPS, accurate to roughly 2cm, to generate a very detailed map of the racing line. Note that the map was generated by putting the GPS on a cart and pushing the cart around the track, so the path may not exactly follow the racing line, but the elevation is accurate.
Since it was recently announced that the Eco-Marathon will be held in Sonoma again, we’re releasing our map data. It can be used for planning out strategy or powertrain sizing for the 2019 competition.