Top Ten Memorable Moments from the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge
27 Oct 2020
Twelve months on from our 2019 event, we’re taking the opportunity to look back and reflect on some of the moments that made the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge another fantastically innovative, emotional and successful event. Check out our round up of moments below.
1. Bright Future
First up, we can’t neglect to mention our documentary, “Bright Future”! Bright Future is the story of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge and was filmed during the 2019 event. The documentary uses exclusive event footage and interviews with team participants and our event Director Chris Selwood AM to tell the story of our world class event from static and dynamic scrutineering, through the adventure down the red centre to our Adelaide finish line and awards night. If you want an immersive, virtual BWSC experience, you can check out Bright Future here.
2. A Show of Sportsmanship
Image: Facebook/HUST – Halmstad University Solar Team
One of our favourite elements of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is the attitude, sportsmanship and comradery demonstrated by our participating teams each year. We can think of no better example of this dynamic than the kind act demonstrated in the above image. Halmstad University Solar Team’s battery caught fire during testing and rendered it unsafe to use or repair. But the Swedish team’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge dreams were saved by Durham University Electric Motorsport, who came to the rescue and provided an almost identical battery that they had left over from the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. PLUS, the UK team from Durham University worked day and night to help Halmstad University Solar Team repair their vehicle Heart Three, making sure they were ready to commence scrutineering on time. What absolute legends!
3. Unstoppable Females
Image: Jerome Wassenaar, Solar Team Twente
The UN’s International Day of the Girl took place during our event in 2019, and with the theme being “GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable”, we saw no better tribute than gathering together the female Bridgestone World Solar Challenge participants for a celebratory photo. How impressive is that image! As our Event Director Chris Selwood AM said, “Over 200 women are part of the teams competing in this exciting challenge, putting engineering skills from some of the best young brains from over twenty countries to the test.” We certainly think this group demonstrated Girl Force and were Unstoppable! What about you?
Image: Facebook/TeamArrow Racing Association
In a true display of the historic sports rivalry, it was the Aussies VS the British in a pop-up game of cricket on a makeshift pitch the night before Dynamic Scrutineering. But again, in true BWSC style, the game was friendly and provided some good fun for teams Team Arrow Racing, Sunswift, Cambridge University Eco Racing and MDH Solar Team. Team Australia just snagged the win!
5. A Flash of Green Lightening
The year 2019 was the first year in which Top Dutch Solar Racing from Groningen, Netherlands participated in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, and what an entrance they made! Their car, Green Lightening, blitzed the Hidden Valley lap record for a four wheeled solar car during Dynamic Scrutineering, giving them the honour of leading the field for the challenge from pole position. No other team was able to reach their average speed of 90km/h on the Hidden Valley track. An outstanding achievement for the BWSC first-timers!
6. A Live Experiment
In 2019, our Cruiser Class continued to advance the technological research behind the goal of environmentally sustainable personal transport. Part of the event regulations involved the cars travelling on single charges from Darwin to Tennant Creek, Tennant Creek to Coober Pedy, and Coober Pedy to the finish line. This formed part of a live experiment with the CSIRO, who facilitated the charging to study the effects of multiple cars plugging into the grid to charge – a potential reality for our population in the future! The charging was also an opportunity to gather data and information on how much electricity the cars were taking on board, resulting in better efficiency information on the progress of the Cruiser Class.
7. Enjoying Red Dog
An overnight stop in Coober Pedy for the Cruiser Class in 2019 provided the perfect opportunity for a good old Australian movie night. Teams watched classic Aussie film, Red Dog, at the Coober Pedy Drive-In while enjoying a BBQ dinner. The night was a fantastic opportunity for teams to interact with their fellow competitors and socialise before hitting the road again the next morning.
8. Winds of Change
Photo: Facebook/Solar Team Twente
Strong cross winds in the final stretch of the challenge caused havoc for two favourite teams during the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Team Sonnenwagen Aachen e.V.’s car Covestro Sonnenwagen was forced off the road, causing damage. However, the team were still able to continue the challenge. Solar Team Twente, however, faced more devastating consequences of the huge gusts. About 20 minutes after taking to the road on October 16th and being in the lead, their vehicle RED E was blown by strong winds onto the side of the road, causing it to fall and roll down a slope. The driver was thankfully unharmed, but the car was irreparable, forcing Solar Team twente out of the competition and putting Vattenfall Solar Team into the lead.
9. Flames in Final Stretch
Photo: Facebook/Vattenfall Solar Team
Unfortunately for Vattenfall Solar Team, their challenge lead did not last long. The team had already experienced a trying 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, with a crash on the last corner of the Hidden Valley track during testing cracking their vehicle NunaX’s winglet. But a day after obtaining the lead from Solar Team Twente, NunaX was taken out of the challenge when it caught fire only 263 kilometres from the finish line. Everybody involved was safe, but the team was understandably devastated as the lead went to Belgian team Agoria. Vattenfall Solar Team presented the last remaining piece of NunaX to Event Director Chris Selwood AM upon walking across the finish line in Adelaide as a memoriam token: their twisted and melted number plate.
10. Celebratory Vibes at the Finish Line
After some devastation on the road, there was no better way to celebrate the successes of the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge teams than with the atmosphere at the City of Adelaide Finish Line. And in 2019, the finish line in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga was also accompanied by the Cruiser Pavillion which housed displays, panel sessions, presentations and Cruiser Class judging. The pavilion provided an atmosphere of technology and innovation, with attendees keen to learn of the innovative inclusions teams brought to their Cruiser Class vehicles.
What were your favourite or most memorable moments from the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge? Let us know in the comments below!