Top Gun Tuesday - Scrutineering Showdown
17 Oct 2023
Today is the first behind-the-scenes look at the international ‘top guns’ together for the first time on the Prohelion Scrutineering floor.
A look under the hood of the Projecta Challenger Class reveals millions of dollars of high-end technology and closely guarded innovation teams are hoping will make the difference on the 3,000-kilometre proving ground that is the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.
This follows the successful clearance of the first solar electric car to make it through 2023 scrutineering yesterday, with that honour going to debutante CSIRO Cruiser Class team entrant, Solaride, from Estonia, getting the green light at all nine stations.
Belgian team, 2019 defending champions, Innoptus, in ‘Infinite’, believe its revolutionary rotating fin, capable of being adjusted to harness crosswinds and designed by the team specifically for the BWSC, will give them enough of a competitive advantage to take it over the line in first place for the second time.
The flying Dutch teams are hoping to deny them the chance. Former champions, Brunel, whose dreams went up in smoke in 2019 so close to the finish line, are back in ‘Nuna 12’ with advanced tech including a battery with significantly more energy storage and a multi-layered solar panel generating more energy per square meter.
Their compatriots, Solar Team Twente, who also suffered heartbreak in 2019 when crosswinds dashed their hopes after leading for much of the way, are back with RED X, the car they hope will claim the Challenger Cup.
Not to be outdone, Top Dutch, with ‘Green Thunder’, will be the first team to drive with a semi flexible tandem perovskite on silicon solar deck from Oxford PV. They hope this revolutionary, power-boosting, never before seen solar tech will give them the edge. Japanese champion team Tokai in ‘Tokai Challenger’, German team Sonnenwagen in ‘Covestro Adelie’, University of Michigan with ‘Astrum’ and new kids on the block, αCentauri from Switzerland all boast aerodynamic masterpieces and hope they have what it takes to excel.
Flying the Aussie flag are Western Sydney with ‘Unlimited 5.0’, custom-built to exceed BWSC specifications, and ANU Solar Racing team with Solar Spirit their most aerodynamic car yet.
The static scrutineering process is a rigorous testing procedure to ensure the solar vehicles are ‘fit’ for the Challenge before them and that they comply with Event regulations. During the session the solar electric vehicles are dismantled and reassembled; drivers are weighed, and ballast is allocated, if required, to meet regulations.
Event Director, Chris Selwood AM, said the technology being revealed this year was ‘next level’.
“After the journey to Darwin, teams must now pass another crucial stage in the Event, scrutineering. Teams must comply to receive a 'conditional' road registration for their solar vehicles to be allowed to compete. Safety is paramount and teams who fail in the first round have further opportunities to re-present. Our ultimate goal is to have all competitors take to the start line in State Square on Sunday 22 October,” Chris said.
“Our philosophy of introducing new regulations each Event pushes the teams to re-think and innovate. I expect to see further advances in technology and breakthroughs in energy management.”