World Solar Challenge: Car Numbers

I’ve been wondering about the meaning of car numbers in the World Solar Challenge (see table above). Nine of them I understand:

21 Solar Team Twente

Twente’s number (21) is a pun and a wish for success in the race (“Twente-One”).

46 JU Solar Team

82 Kookmin University Solar Team

The Swedish team (46) and the Korean team (82) have used their national telephone prefix as a car number.

40 Solar Team Eindhoven

In a closely related choice, Eindhoven’s number (40) is their telephone area code.

33 Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education

The Hong Kong IVE team takes their number (33) from the fact that the Hong Kong Vocational Training Council was founded 33 years ago.

35 University of Minnesota

Minnesota’s number (35) has been in use since its very first car (Aurora I, which raced in 1993). According to a comment made on this post, the number is taken from the route of that first race, which roughly followed Interstate Highway 35. Another story is that it was the first car’s speed (35 mph).

51 Kanazawa Institute of Technology

Kanazawa’s car is version 5.1 in their series of cars, and they have chosen the car number 51 to match.

80 Beijing Institute of Technology

I assume that the Chinese team has chosen number 80 because it is lucky.

88 Kogakuin University

In the team’s own words: “Our team number is 88. Why?? There are several reasons for that. 4 wheels looks like 88. 88 is the lucky number in Japanese character (kanji). And also, the address of our team garage is Hachioji city. ‘Hachi’ means ‘eight.’”

I have no idea what the meaning of most of the car numbers from other teams might be – although I could guess at a few. I’d welcome explanations in the comments!

Update: added numbers 33, 35, and 88.


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4 thoughts on “World Solar Challenge: Car Numbers

  1. Lore is that Minnesota’s 35 is for Interstate 35 – our first race in ’93 was Dallas to Minneapolis, roughly following I-35.

    After that, well, it’s the number that’s already on all of our stuff – so we keep using it :p

    • That’s interesting…. I’ve asked a few teams about their number, and the most frequent answer is “that’s the number that was on our stuff when I got here.” Particularly when the original choice was a decade or two ago.

      Actually, hanging on to the “lore” is probably a good indicator of how well a team is plugged into its pool of alumni.

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