Charging towards the future…31 teams off to chase the sun…
22 Oct 2023
After a week of challenges for many teams, 31 teams from around the world took to the start line at State Square in Darwin today, Sunday 22 October for the 2023 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.
Projecta Challenger Class team, Sonnenwagen Aachen, from Germany in ‘Covestro Adelie’, had the honour of leading the field as they were flagged off at 8.00AM by the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory Natasha Fyles. The team earned the right to pole position after posting the fastest lap time of 1:56:83, in yesterday’s time trials at Hidden Valley. On their heels, second on the start grid was team Innoptus from Belgium in Infinite with Netherlands’ Brunel in Nuna 12, third on the grid.
All Aussie teams made it safely across the start line. Australia’s, Sunswift Racing, the fastest CSIRO Cruiser on the track yesterday in Sunswift 7, was 8th on the grid; ANU in Solar Spirit was 10th; Deakin University’s ASCEND was 13th; Western Sydney in Unlimited 5.0 snuck into the top 20 at 19th; Adelaide University Solar Racing Team in ‘Lumen III was right behind them at 20,’ Flinders Automotive Solar Team Cruiser Investigator Mark IV had issues on track placing them towards the rear with Team Arrow in Arrow 3.
No ‘Hot Lap’ record for the Top Dutch team this year, but a fast-paced 4th position still places their Green Thunder at the front of the pack heading out of Darwin. Japan’s Kogakuin in Koga were 5th on the grid, Canada’s Eclipse ETS was 6th, Team Tokai from Japan 7th, and Istanbul Technical University Team from Turkey in their solar car Ariba Zes XE were 8th.
Watch out at the end of the day results in this hotly contested field.
Unfortunately challenges of late arrivals, logistics and rigorous safety standards have proved too much for several teams, with withdrawals confirmed for Italy’s Futurosolare; UITM Malaysia; India’s AgniRath; Hong Kong’s Sophie 8; South Korea’s Dokkaebi, Turkey’s SAITEM, and Saudi Arabia’s Estidamah.
Speaking from the start line, Event Director Chris Selwood AM said not being able to compete in their chosen class was a disappointment for the teams who have worked so hard. The Event will do all it can to include the teams on start line celebrations and provide an adventure on route.
‘For the rest of the field, making it to the start is the ultimate reward for those with dreams of a more sustainable future,’ Chris said.
‘As the world debates climate change and looks to find solutions to more sustainable mobility, these incredible young people are innovating and collaborating towards a better world.
‘We wish all participants a safe journey as they chase the sun to Adelaide on this 3,000-kilometre, extreme endurance adventure. A once in a lifetime journey!’ Chris concluded.