WSC 2013: Thursday night

It’s official! Nuon Solar Team have won the World Solar Challenge at 10:03 ACST today (followed by Tokai University at 13:22, Solar Team Twente at 14:38, and Stanford at 16:31).

The race is far from over, however, so I’ve put together another race chart (from the timing tables), showing the top 12 Challenger Class entries, with a second chart showing the top 4 in the Cruiser Class and the top 2 in the Adventure Class. Once again, these charts are relative to a baseline average speed of 85 km/h, which includes wait time at checkpoints (this corresponds to a driving-only speed of about 97 km/h). This baseline is one that Nuon just barely exceeded when they travelled 953 km from Kulgera (at 12:53 on Tuesday) to Port Augusta (at 15:05 on Wednesday).

The left-hand axis of the charts(click to zoom) shows the number of hours that cars are (or were) running behind the baseline speed. Very noticeable is the delay that Tokai experienced when they ran out of power during rainy conditions this morning (which meant that Tokai, Twente, and Stanford will only cross the ceremonial finish line tomorrow). Nuon and Twente, on the other hand, planned for the weather very well.

Since the baseline speed is very close to finishing the race in exactly 4 days, arrival times (and, extrapolating the lines to the right, estimated arrival times for tomorrow) can be read off on the right-hand scale (for example, Nuon finished at 10:03 ACST this morning, and I expect Solar Energy Racers to finish just a few minutes after 8:00 tomorrow).

Solar Energy Racers and Punch Powertrain are camped out along the road south of Port Augusta, while Team Arrow, Blue Sky, the repaired Michigan car, Onda, UWS, and an apparently repaired Kanazawa car have yet to reach the town.

In the Cruiser Class, Sunswift has also reached Port Augusta, while Bochum, Eindhoven, and Minnesota are still on the approach. Those cars, of course, will be judged on a mixture of criteria, in which Eindhoven will have an advantage as a result of carrying an average of around three people for the trip.

Clarification: for the Cruiser class, the ETA is one hour earlier than indicated on the right-hand scale (because of the early 7:00 start on day 4). The second chart also underestimates the driving speed of the Cruiser Class, because of the end-of-stage wait times at Tennant Creek, Alice Springs, and Coober Pedy.

For a review of the day’s events, see this official WSC video:

There are also great visuals in this (Dutch) video from Team Twente:


5 thoughts on “WSC 2013: Thursday night

  1. surprisingly it seems that Arrow and SER have managed to let the bad weather to have less of negative impact on average speed then the frontrunner cars….

  2. Nice graphs, you can filter a lot of info out of them.

    I have a question about how you did your calculations to measure the average speed. When i do them for Nuon i get a much higher average than the dotted line (which if i read it correctly represents an average of 85 km/h) See my calculations:

    My calculation of Nuon: i just did 9 hours drive a day times 4 gives 36 hours. day five drive is around 2 hours (EoT @ 10.03 according to WSC site) gives a total time on the road of 38 hours. Don’t forget the CS which there are 9 of them at 30 minutes each gives a total stop time of 4.5 hour. Subtracted that from 38 hours which gives 33.5 hours of total drive time. They started in Darwin around 8.30. So i took a half an hour off.

    So my drive time for Nuna is around 33 hours.The race distance is around 3000 km divided by 33 hours gives average of around 90.9 km/h. Significant more than the average of 85 km/h represented by the dotted line in the graph.

    • That’s about right: I get 2998 km in 33.05 hours for Nuon, that’s 90.7 km driving time, less than the baseline driving speed of 97 km/h.

      The 85 km/h figure was based on including the wait time at control points: there Nuon did 2998 km in 37.55 hours, for an average of 79.8 km/h, putting Nuon 2.28 hours behind baseline.

      It’s a bit confusing including the wait time in that 85 km/h figure, I must admit, but I did it to simplify comparison: a car that has just finished waiting at a control stop really is 30 minutes ahead of a car that has just begun.

  3. On day 3, Solar Team Eindhoven drove 97 km/h, equal to the driving-only speed mentioned. Shouldn’t the graph for the cruiser class show a horizontal line in that case? Do you regard the spare hours in the afternoon (for recharging the batteries) as driving hours?

    • You’re right: because I am applying software written for the Challenger Class, the second chart significantly underestimates the driving speed of the Cruiser Class. A proper analysis of the Cruiser Class needs to consider the four stages separately.

      Effectively I have treated the end-of-stage wait times at Tennant Creek, Alice Springs, and Coober Pedy as additional control stops. For example, the chart averages the time from Tennant Creek (14:16 on day 2) to Alice Springs (13:44 on day 3) as 505 km in 8.47 hours or 59.6 km/h. That speed is really only meaningful in terms of estimating the ETA in Adelaide.

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