Ahthavan Sureshkumar 2018 UofT Arbor Award Recipient

Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences and Engineering Cristina Amon (2nd from left), Managing Director Hubaab Hussain (1st from Left), Bluesky Advancement Director Grace Lloyd (First from right), along side Ahthavan Sureshkumar at the 2018 Arbor Awards

The Arbor Award recognizes and celebrates the contributions of many exemplary volunteers to the University of Toronto. This year Blue Sky Solar Racing team’s member and adviser Ahthavan Sureshkumar will be receiving an Arbor Award for his exemplary efforts and contribution towards the team.

Ahthavan Sureshkumar was the Chief Technical Director for the Blue Sky Solar Racing team and has been a key volunteer of the team since 2003. He has been a faithful member, leader and advisor for the team for over 15 years, and his involvement in multiple departments of the team including Mechanical, Electrical, Solar Array, Advancement and Strategy was crucial for the team to place 8th at the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the best finish by the team to date. From doing his Undergraduate studies in Engineering Science to Masters in Medical Biophysics, to currently an Alumni advisor for the team, he has contributed his technical skills, experience, time and energy with the belief that the races promote new innovations in the field of solar automotive technology to better our future.

Ahthavan next to the Blue Sky Solar Racing car Horizon in ASC 2016.

Ahthavan is now working as a Product Development Engineer for Ford Motor Company and has previously worked for Apex Composites, an aerospace company developing composite parts. “My involvement with the team motivated me to tackle challenges and believe that you can do what you set your mind to.” Ahthavan says he has received invaluable experience from being on the team by learning skills that contributed to his job at Ford working on electric vehicles and stated, “joining the team was the best decision I made.”

“I learned a lot from his work on his race simulator, which bridges the gap between the solar array and strategy departments of the team.” Nasa Nguyen the Polaris Array Lead states.

“He taught me how to use the simulation and how to troubleshoot some common issues that would exist when trying to use the program… I would present and discuss my findings with him and he would give me some more insight/explanations if I was having difficulty.” Sam Chau, the Gen X Electromech Lead said.

“Ahthavan has built solar simulation software which the team used to optimize the energy input of the vehicle and taught the team how to use advanced ANSYS Workbench modules to analyze our parts and the fundamentals of finite element analysis,” current Chief Technical Director Sean Doughty said.

“He has been an outspoken critic of the status quo and inspired me to design and build the first fully carbon fiber occupant space with a thermal-formed plastic windscreen.”

Doughty also exclaims “Ahthavan has positively contributed to my peers’ and my education as future engineers and ensured the roots of the Blue Sky Solar Racing team are strong as the team continues to grow throughout the ages.”

Ahthavan wanted to mention Tomek Bartczak, Andreas Marouchos, and Amy Bilton who have also been significant contributors to the team, because of the amount of time and effort they have put towards the project over the years. Tomek and Andreas were also Chief Technical Directors and Amy was the Aerodynamics Lead for Cerulean. Since their tenures, they have been part of the advisory board for the team, ensuring the team was ready and the car was safe before every race.

The Blue Sky Solar Racing Team is very grateful for Ahthavan’s contributions to the team and would like to congratulate Ahthavan on receiving the Arbor Award.

Ahthavan as the Chief Technical Director with B-7 in BWSC 2013. He is the sixth from the right.





Maker Festival’s Maker Extravaganza

28276436191_8a883584ed_zOn July 9 & 10, Blue Sky Solar Racing attended the Maker Festival’s Maker Extravaganza at the Toronto Reference Library. Team members were able to share our knowledge of sustainable technologies and our experiences on the team. This event was a great opportunity to join more than 100 Makers and Creators. Thank you to the organizers of the Maker Festival for inviting us to this event, and we hope to return again next year at the Maker Extravaganza.

You can view more pictures at the event here.

Wind Tunnel Testing

On June 8th, part of our team traveled to Ottawa to visit the National Research Council in order to conduct aerodynamic characterization tests in their air tunnel facilities. Here are some of the experiences of the NRC visit that members of the Blue Sky team have shared:


“Our visit to the NRC presented me with an opportunity to work with industry professionals and put into practice the things I learn in the classroom. I found it quite humbling to know that the engineering feats around me utilize the same technology, from conceptualizing the idea to testing a prototype all the way to solving a very real problem. It makes me realize the room for my own technical growth and the possibilities ahead. It was quite a learning experience to work with the NRC, nonetheless I look forward to working with them again and await what new insights the data from the wind tunnel test brings us.”

– Nasa Nguyen, Industrial Engineering 1T9

“The NRC wind tunnel literally blew my mind. The people were great, so knowledgeable and helpful, and the wind tunnel was equally as impressive. For me, not only was this an opportunity to learn more about aerodynamics, but also to have a great time with my Blue Sky team. One of the best moments at the wind tunnel was seeing Eugene, our aerodynamic lead, holding the smoke wand in front of our car. There’s nothing like seeing Eugene get to do what he’s always wanted to, and that’s all thanks to the NRC.”

– Mackenzie Clark, Engineering Science 1T9

“On behalf of Blue Sky Solar Racing, we want to thank NRC for providing us with the opportunity for us to conduct aerodynamic characterization tests in your air tunnel facilities. This has given us important information about our 8th generation solar car – Horizon as well as important knowledge for the design of our next solar car. The NRC visit was a great experience for the Blue Sky members to gain this knowledge from wind tunnel testing and NRC’s professionals. ”

-Natasha Valenton, Mechanical Engineering 1T9

Wind Tunnel - Group

Frank Gu – ECE 1T8

Managing Director

I joined in the first semester of my first year at U of T because I felt that school was inadequate to fill my need for learning, and I just wanted to do something to apply the skills I learnt. I enjoy working on modern calligraphy in my spare time, and I can describe myself as spontaneous and radical. My goal is to finally be one of top teams at WSC.

Sean Doughty – EngSci 1T8

Chief Engineer

Two years ago, I came in for the Solar Car 101 Workshop out of curiosity, and I decided to stay and gradually developed a passion for the project. The most memorable moment was doing the prepreg layup with Zhe. It was such a struggle to work with prepreg, but in the end we ended up succeeding. My goal for WSC is to build a car that that I will be proud of for the rest of my life. Even when I look at it 10 years from now, I will still be amazed.