AMES, Iowa - Team PrISUm's solar race car covered 196 miles on Friday, by far its best showing in this year's 1,100-mile American Solar Challenge.
"We didn't have any problems with it all day," said Pat Sanderson, a senior from Iowa City who's majoring in mechanical engineering and is the team's project director. "We just drove and drove and drove."
Sanderson studied the time sheets and said Anthelion - the car is named after a halo that sometimes appears opposite the sun - still could have used a little more speed as it completed the stage from Rolla, Mo., to Normal, Ill.
Daily electrical problems early in the race have left Team PrISUm hours behind most of its competitors. Race standings now list Iowa State 11th among the 13 remaining competitors. The top three teams continue to be the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota and Germany's Bochum University of Applied Sciences.
The teams have one more stage in the seven-day race from Broken Arrow, Okla., to Naperville, Ill. - a 110-mile sprint to the finish line. Sanderson said Team PrISUm will start the day with full battery packs and expects to drive the speed limit all the way to the end.
But that didn't mean he was letting team members catch up on some rest Thursday night. The car's brake lights and cruise control still aren't working right and so team members were looking for solutions.
"It it doesn't get done now, it won't get done," Sanderson said. "And I want to get it done."
Team members weren't complaining, though.
"The car is running great," he said. "Everybody is a lot happier."
Besides, "We're almost there."