MONDAY 07 OCTOBER, 2013 |
World Solar Challenge 2013 Kicks Off
38 teams commenced the 3,000 kilometre 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in
Darwin on Sunday.
Australian solar car 'Arrow 1' from Queensland took pole position honours in the Elite Challenger Class
and Team Eindhoven from the Netherlands and their family four-seater car 'Stella
led the Cruiser Class.
Team Arrow had reached speeds of 120km/hr in track testing at Hidden Valley in
the lead up to the event. Arrow 1 is being driven by Former Formula Ford
race car driver Chris Ahern.
The teams will be battling gruelling conditions for the first half of the racing
, temperatures will reach the mid-to-high 30s and possibly nudging the 40
degree mark on Tuesday and Wednesday. There will be some relief on Thursday; but
also the threat of clouds. A high pressure system will then kick in from Friday bringing dry and sunny conditions for the final
leg into Adelaide.
Event Director Chris Selwood described the event an extreme endurance adventure.
So, is driving a solar powered car a bit of an anti-climax after having raced
Formula Ford? Mr Ahern said he feels the same thrill when driving a solar car.
"Solar cars are set up to be neutral and highly efficient with very low drag and don't have the down force of a race car. As you get faster it actually begins to generate lift, so you're basically attached to a big wing,"
"Finding the car's best performance on the track becomes an exercise in controlling a vehicle that wants to fly."
Aside from Team Arrow
the Australian teams competing this year are:
- Aurora Vehicle Association, based in Melbourne.
- University of Western Sydney.
- University of New South Wales Solar Racing Team.
- TAFE SA
Cars are allowed a nominal 5 kilowatt-hours of stored energy, with the remainder
supplied by the sun or recovered from the kinetic energy of the vehicle.
According to the last update, the Netherlands' Nuon Solar team were leading at
the end of day 1.
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