SYRACUSE — Although the Drivers World Challenge does not take place until early July in England, the super mileage car team at Wawasee High School has an even earlier deadline to meet. So, as termed by Allen Coblentz, the engineering teacher who oversees the team, it is the “final push” to get the diesel mileage car ready in order to be shipped by June 10, the deadline for cars to be shipped.
So between now and June 10, even after the final day of school Thursday, May 30, the team will be busy making the final modifications needed to get the car race ready. For an example, Tuesday morning, May 28, new tires were being put on and a wire for the taillight which had malfunctioned during racing in California in April was being checked.
All but two of the team members are making the trip to England and a few adults are, too, including some parents of team members making it a vacation trip. One team member had a prior commitment and another is choosing not to go, Coblentz said.
Fundraising kicked into high gear because Shell, the sponsor of the DWC, only pays a certain portion of the expenses involved. Enough funds were raised, though, to send every student on Wawasee’s super mileage team who intends to go. “The community support has been tremendous,” he said. “The last time I checked my list, there were more than 50 businesses, individuals or organizations who have donated funds.”
Funds raised above what is needed for the trip will be used for the mileage car program in future years.
Coblentz credited classes from previous years as laying a foundation for the success of this year. This was the third year Wawasee entered cars in the urban concept category at the Shell Eco-marathon. During the first two years, the cars either simply failed or wrecked on a wet track after it had rained.
“We learned some things and made some modifications,” he said, noting a goal of his is to make necessary modifications from year to year. “We change what we need to and we don’t change something if it works.”
There will be 100 cars from Europe competing in the DWC and three each from the Americas and Asian countries. Coblentz said he has been checking the results of other cars and based on what Wawasee’s car has already done and the others did, Wawasee would finish in third place. But, he cautioned, it is a different race track this year in England being used.
“Everyone will be on an equal playing field and that is good for us,” he said.
Competition dates in England, on a track located near London, will be July 2-5.