Several prior qualification rounds had whittled down the number of participants from well over 100 to just 11 for the final race. Seven of the teams were based at American Universities (Team Cornell, Stanford Racing Team, Tartan Racing, Team UCF, VictorTango, and MIT), two were based in Germany (CarOLO and Team AnnieWay), and just two were not associated with any academic institutions (Intelligent Vehicle Systems and Team Oshkosh Truck).
The actual race got underway at 6am on Saturday 3rd November and after a few false starts, all the 11 finalists successfully started out on the course. Unfortunately it didn't take long for the first causalities to start appearing.
Much to me and my fellow journalist's annoyance, the ginormous TerraMax Oshkosh truck came a cropper on the other side of the course so we completely missed it mounting the curb and slowly but surely colliding with an old shop front. Even more gutting, was missing UCF's car come to a very similar ending only metres away from me - I'd been facing the other way though. Doh!
Eventually, Honeywell were also disqualified for continually drifting out of lane and CarOLO also had a similar fate and the final retiree was Team AnnieWay who got fouled up on an intersection.
All the retirements happened within the first hour or two of competition and the remaining four hours passed with only one minor incident, which involved MIT and Cornell. The two collided when MIT attempted an overtaking manoeuvre and ended up bumping front side panels with Cornell as it moved back into lane. It was an unlucky collision with no specific fault on the part of either team and, after a quick damage check, both cars were able and allowed to continue.