World Solar Challenge: Day 6 Wrap



Today in the World Solar Challenge, the next nine Challenger class cars (above) arrived (as always, click to zoom). These cars were (in order) Arrow (team 30, Australia), EAFIT (team 5, Columbia), Western Sydney (team 13, Australia), NWU (team 17, South Africa), Blue Sky (team 77, Canada), UKZN (team 14, South Africa), Goko High School (team 25, Japan), Jönköping University (team 46, Sweden), and Nagoya (team 47, Japan). I believe that Goko High School may be the first high school team to complete 3,022 km on solar power inside of a week.

The first two cars in the Cruiser class also arrived. Kogakuin (team 88, Japan) took out line honours, but Eindhoven (team 40, Netherlands) carried a passenger all the way. I believe that this more than nullifies Kogakuin’s speed advantage. Eindhoven is also likely to collect more “practicality points” in the judging tomorrow.

Also arriving were the first of what I’ve been calling the B race teams, EcoPhoton (team 18, Malaysia, above). These cars spent some time on a trailer, and will therefore compete on the basis of how much of the 3,022 km they were able to travel under their own steam. EcoPhoton have done very well for a new team, particularly given the bad luck they had (a serious battery fire, requiring battery replacement and bodywork repair – see this day 6 wrap by MostDece). They were followed by Cambridge (team 12, UK), who are probably ahead on the km count.

Ardingly (team 43, UK, above), another high school team, also arrived. They are in the B race of the Cruiser class, so their km count may be exceeded by one or more other Cruisers in the B race. The Ardingly students have done very well to build a working Cruiser, and their genuine enthusiasm has earned the respect of the top teams. I hope that they will all continue on to successful university studies.

At some point Siam Technology College (team 22, Thailand) arrived, although I understand that they have formally withdrawn from the race. In the Adventure class, TAFE SA (team 42, Australia) arrived as well. There are only three Adventure class cars, and all three trailered at some point.

Finally, walking back to my hotel, I spotted HK IVE (team 33, Hong Kong) on a trailer. I think they arrived too late for a formal welcome.

Above is another race chart summarising timing data that has been released (and omitting obviously wrong data), while current car positions are shown below. Tomorrow morning we should see Bochum (team 11, Germany) and Sunswift (team 75, Australia) in the Cruiser class, as well as Principia (team 32, USA) and Kanazawa (team 51, Japan) in the Challenger class. I suspect that Minnesota (team 35, USA), Anadolu (team 36, Turkey) and KUST (team 82, Korea) will be forced to trailer by the noon time limit. Other cars – 9, 80, 26, 82, 15, and 7 in the Challenger class; 28, 45, 38, and 31 in the Cruiser class; and 20 and 34 in the Adventure class – have already trailered, and are in the B race. They will no doubt attempt to clock up additional km if possible. The race is not over until Chris Selwood sings!


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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 clothing


Some WSC team clothing (photo credits, left to right: Twente, Eindhoven, Punch Powertrain, EcoPhoton, Nuon)

A small but important part of building a team for the World Solar Challenge is selecting a team shirt or team jacket. Team clothing can help build team spirit during both construction and racing, it can help deliver on sponsorship commitments, and it can even help to find team members in a large crowd.

In the field of sports, it is well known that team clothing can help to build a sense of “groupness.” However, this appears to be true during vehicle construction as well. For example, prior to the 2013 event, Team Nuon used their uniforms to reinforce the team structure by embroidering each member’s name and team role on their jacket. The picture above shows the team clothing of five WSC teams.

World Solar Challenge: Team 18

18  MARA University of Technology / EcoPhoton Solar Team (Stingray)

The team from the Shah Alam campus of Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) are first-time participants in the WSC this year, and Stingray is their first solar car. However, they seem to have learned much from other teams out there, and their poster below shows technical details of their vehicle. The car looks good as well. Good luck, team 18!

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