This is it. Today we began the biggest challenge for any solar powered car. To drive 3000km across the outback entirely on the power of the sun against over 40 teams from around the world. An early start for the team – 4am – was not most welcome but the car & team arrived in good time for the start line and parade of all the solar cars. Seeing our solar car in Parliament House was awesome but to see it alongside some of the most renowned teams in the competition was particularly enthralling.
We qualified 31st and considered this a very strong position for the car and team. The start line beckoned and we were welcomed with great fanfare from the crowd – they love a British team! Setting off through the streets of Darwin was particularly surreal, with crowds lined up to watch all the extraordinary designs drive to Adelaide. We then proceeded to the Stuart Highway.
Our solar car performed incredibly well, driving the entire 322km on solar power without having to trailer the vehicle. Although our pace was affected by weather conditions (it even rained at one point), and some minor technical niggles, our driver changeovers were slick and we remained on the road for most of the day.
We reached the Katherine control stop in good time that afternoon and met the Flinders University team. They very kindly offered us use of the accommodation they had that night which happened to be a church in Katherine.
It was a fantastic day for the team, with spirits incredibly high; indeed, a lot of people became very emotional seeing this car on the highway after working on the design, manufacture and business sides of the project for many years. The team and car performed extraordinarily well today and we are delighted with the progress. Keep an eye on our social media as we update you on our progress as & when we get mobile signal. You can also track our car at https://www.worldsolarchallenge.org/dashboard/map.
Day 1 was a great start for the team and we look forward to building this momentum over the next few days.