The track

The circuit, which the cars had to drive by themselves, consisted of a mixture of curves, crossings, chicanes and straight sections. There were also shaking strips and small hills. The trace was defined by two-inch wide black lines at a fixed distance of about 33.5 cm from each other on a white surface. The modular construction made it possible to create all kinds of racetracks, from small circles to football field size (as long as it fit into the hall). The school teams had an easier course where a line had to be followed.

NXP Cup finals circuit
The final course with very different lighting conditions

The Teams

The teams consisted of one to four students under the guidance of a teacher or professor. Before the final in Erlangen - by the way the birthplace of Georg Simon Ohm - the teams had to survive a local preliminary round in Morocco, France, the Czech Republic, Germany and Romania. This was achieved by 19 teams, so that teams from Germany, Morocco, Greece, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland and the Ukraine competed in Erlangen.

Training units

The event started with training runs the day before the finals, so that the teams could adjust their cars a little and repair them if necessary if something went wrong, a car got off the track and hit the wall.

Good contrast

An important point was the illumination of the room. Contrast was of decisive importance for many cars, and ambient light naturally has a great influence on this. Some teams even had red lights mounted on their cars to improve the contrast. Later, during the final, it became clear how much influence it really had, because the last course extended so far that it fell apart into two different areas of light. Some cars were quite confused when they switched from one light to the other.

NXP Cup spectators
Nervous and full of expectation: the teams in white racing outfits

The race

The second day began with training sessions again, but at noon the hour had struck: all cars had to be parked in the Parc Fermé, after that it was forbidden to touch them. Two hours later, after an extensive lunch, the decisive phase began, above all the two school teams from Piešťany, Slovakia, which were (outstanding) won by one team and (miserably) lost by the other team.
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