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This Year’s World Solar Challenge Will Eclipse Past Events

With new rules in place, this year’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is set to eclipse past events when it fires up next month.

A record breaking 48 teams from 26 countries are preparing to take on the Aussie outback in the 3,000 kilometre journey from Darwin to Adelaide, starting 6 October, in a bid to prove they have what it takes to deliver the world’s most efficient electric solar car.

Announcing the largest ever field, CEO of the South Australian Motor Sports Board, Mark Warren, said it teams from around the world had responded well to the new classes and regulations.

“We threw down the gauntlet asking designers to push the limits of new technology and innovation by creating three new formalised classes. We wanted to ensure our event remained at the forefront of technology driving experienced teams and industry sponsors to exceed past results and at the same time inspire newcomers. Their response has been a resounding, bring it on!” Mr Warren said.

“We now have the makings of our most competitive field ever – in terms of time, speed, energy efficiency and innovation. All our top contenders are back to chase line honours. The changes also mean teams in both Challenger and Cruiser classes will be competing in brand new cars”.

“Last year’s winners from Tokai University in Japan are looking for their third straight victory and former champions, Nuon Solar Team from the Netherlands, who had to be satisfied with second in 2011, are working furiously on Nuna 7, vowing to fight until the finish to get the gold back to Delft University. Of course, there is also the US Solar Champion Michigan team still trying to best their third place result,” he said.

Event Director Chris Selwood said the so-called top three were not a foregone conclusion with all eyes on new countries such as China and return entrants Saudi Arabia.

“You never rule out the Aussies either, who are back with a vengeance this year with teams in every category. The only state to field two teams is NSW and I’m told first time entrants from the University of Western Sydney don’t put too much stock in history. Sunswift from the University of NSW are also confident they have the aerodynamic expertise and innovative design to win in their Cruiser category although the TAFE SA team will be doing their best too. Melbourne’s Aurora team, competing in the Adventure Class are likely to be one of the lightest competitors and will be chasing the fastest qualifying time in their No 87 Aurora Evolution, so numbered to signify they’ve not missed an event since the Challenge began in 1987. New Queensland team, Arrow, hopes experience from seasoned campaigners will build a legacy for others to follow,” Chris said.