WSC: Even More Gem Awards

Even more of my Scientific Gems WSC “gem awards” this afternoon. The “faster than lightning” gem goes to Nuon, who won the Challenger class, and to Twente, who were just minutes behind them – with honourable mentions to Tokai, Michigan, and Punch, who were also in the top five.

The “faster than lightning” gem goes to Nuon (team 3) and Twente (team 21)

The “best new team” gem goes to Kecskemét College (Faculty of GAMF) from Hungary, who came seventh in the Challenger class – a spectacular performance for a new team. Honourable mentions go to Lodz, for their very nice city car, and to EcoPhoton from Malaysia, who had some bad luck.

The “best new team” gem goes to Kecskemét College (team 23)

The “blogging excellence” gem goes MostDece, for his interesting and expert coverage of the World Solar Challenge.

The “blogging excellence” gem goes to MostDece


World Solar Challenge: Day 5

I was very happy to see the lead seven World Solar Challenge cars arrive in Adelaide today. The cars, with their approximate arrival times in Darwin time, were Nuon (team 3, Netherlands, 10:26), Twente (team 21, Netherlands, 10:35), Tokai (team 10, Japan, 11:20) – shown above – and Michigan (team 2, USA, 11:24), Punch (team 8, Belgium, 11:49), Stanford (team 16, USA, 13:54), and Kecskemét (team 23, Hungary, 15:34) – shown below. Add an hour to those times for Adelaide time, and another 20 minutes or so for them to get across the city from the timing point to Victoria Square.

Below is another race chart (as always, click to zoom). Data is taken from the official timing board for days 1 to 5 (but two obviously incorrect datapoints have been removed). In this chart, the distance is horizontal, and the vertical axis expresses time, specifically how many hours each car is behind a car driving at exactly 97.42 km/h (that’s the speed which would get a car into Adelaide at exactly closing time yesterday). Final positions on the vertical axis correspond to arrival times (but add an hour for Adelaide time, and another 20 minutes or so to get to Victoria Square). I have included Cruisers in this chart – note the compulsory overnight stop in Alice Springs for Cruiser cars.

I expect twelve cars to arrive during the course of Friday, including the top three Cruisers. The rules specify that “Solarcars must not proceed south of Port Augusta after 11:00 (Darwin time = 12:00 Adelaide time). Solarcars already running south of this point must trailer from this time.” It remains to be seen how many other cars will squeeze in under this limit to get into Adelaide on Saturday morning. In what I have started calling the B race, cars that have been trailered at some point will try to clock up as many solar kilometres as possible, given that limit, together with the closures of the Glendambo and Coober Pedy control stops at 11:20 and 14:00 tomorrow.

And here are the car positions this evening:

World Solar Challenge: Dark Horses

In the World Solar Challenge, there are three new Challenger class teams and two new Cruiser class teams that have fielded very good-looking vehicles. Together with the teams that have an established racing record, these five new teams might be particularly worth keeping an eye on:

9: Adelaide University (  Australia, Lumen)

This new Australian team has a very nice-looking Challenger class car.

18: MARA University of Technology / EcoPhoton (  Malaysia, Stingray)

This new Malaysian team also has an impressive-looking Challenger class car.

23: Kecskemét College Faculty of GAMF (  Hungary, MegaLux)

This Hungarian car is perhaps the pick of the dark horses in the Challenger class, and blogger MostDece thinks it may even have a shot at winning.

45: KGHM Lodz Solar Team (  Poland, Eagle One)

This new Polish team has produced a very nice-looking Cruiser class car.

88: Kogakuin University (  Japan, OWL)

Kogakuin are not new to the WSC, but they are new to the Cruiser class, and they seem to have made a huge leap forward in terms of professionalism this year. Blogger MostDece is actually calling them favourites to win, ahead of the top three teams from 2013.

So there you have it. Five dark horses which may do very well this year. Click on the symbol for detailed team profiles of these five teams, or click on the team social media icons for more information about what they are up to.

World Solar Challenge: Team 23

23  Kecskemét College Faculty of GAMF (MegaLux)

The team from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Automation at Kecskemét College are first-time participants in the WSC this year. Their car (above) has a really cool steering wheel (below). Hopefully, it is very fast as well!

The team have also developed this fantastic simulation model of the car in action. Good luck, team 23!

For up-to-date lists of all World Solar Challenge 2015 teams, see: