Solar car team in a strong position on day one

UNLIMITED 2.0 at the start of the Bridgestone Solar Car Challenge

The Western Sydney University Solar Car team has had a flying start to the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, finishing day one as the fastest Australian team and third overall in the prestigious international race.

This success comes on the back of being the first Australian Challenger Class team to pass scrutineering, and the fastest Australian team to qualify for this year’s race - which sees 40 solar car teams from 30 countries, including teams from Cambridge University and Stanford University, travel 3000 kilometres from Darwin to Adelaide.

The specs of this year’s vehicle, UNLIMITED 2.0 – which includes a sleek, aerodynamic, futuristic design, with a compact, narrow chassis; long, pointed nose and shortened rear– are also proving successful, with the car reaching the town of Katherine 21.5 minutes faster than the University’s 2015 vehicle.

The team have been in the Northern Territory for the past few weeks, carrying out mock races and testing the car on long stretches of the Stuart Highway. According to Solar Car Team member Ann Xiao, this testing was vital in ensuring each driver learnt race and safety procedures, how to conduct a control stop and how to pass an outback road train.

“During testing, the team woke up at 6am every morning and slept at 10pm every night to simulate what a race day would be like,” she says.

“We tested and trained rigorously as we strongly believe in the motto – cars don’t win races, teams win races!”

In 2017 the team is a more experienced unit and has learned from the University’s previous race entries SolAce and UNLIMITED. The team have shaken off their underdog status and UNLIMITED 2.0 is thought to be a top contender in the race.

The 22 member Solar Car team comprises Western Sydney University students from the fields of Engineering, Industrial Design and Visual Communications. The students manage every aspect of the production and design of the vehicle, as well as sponsorships, marketing and the administrative elements of their involvement in the Bridgestone Solar Car Challenge.

Day two sees the team travelling toward Tennant’s Creek.

You can track the team’s progress LIVE here.


9 October 2017

Emma Sandham, Senior Media Officer