The Nuon Solar Team has convincingly won the 14th edition of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the world championship solar car racing in Australia. Nuna9 finished in Adelaide around 6.45, on the fifth day of the race. Their 3.000km long journey across the Australian Outback took them 4 days and about 6 hours. This is the Nuon Solar Team’s seventh championship title.

They crossed ahead of USA’s Michigan, who are on track for second place, in their torpedo shaped ‘Novum’ and their best ever result in Australia. Punch Powertrain from Belgium are also on track for their best result since 2007, with a 3rd place podium finish.

Spare driver Tim van Leeuwen started the final race day in Nuna9. Race driver Lisanne de Rooij, took over at the control stop and finished in Adelaide. Her fellow driver Sharon van Luik in Australia: “Of course, we were very nervous. Something can always happen. We were a bundle of nerves, you might say. But everything went great! Nuna9 reached a maximum velocity of 110 km per hour. And that solely with the energy the sun provides us with! ‘Ripper!’ – as they’d say in Australia.”

This was the ninth time the Nuon Solar Team participated in the world championship. They brought back the championship trophy six times to the Netherlands and were the runner-up twice. The Nuon Solar Team started the race on position 4, after a great qualification on Saturday. Directly in the first day the team overtook the three competitors in front of them: Sydney, Punch and, ultimately, their long-
time rival Tokai from Japan.

Challenges
A broken part of the car suspension was the cause of some exciting moments on day 2. Race driver Sharon van Luik: “I was startled by this bang and thought it was a blowout. Unfortunately, I had to stop and witness how our competitor Tokai overtook us. Luckily, our support crew fixed the car very quickly and this enabled us continue the race within ten minutes.” After a short period of time, the Nuon Solar Team reclaimed its position as front-runner in the challenge.

The third and fourth racing days turned out to be strategically crucial, especially when the sun disappeared behind the clouds. Hard winds and even rain characterised this day. These conditions actually benefited the Nuon Solar Team; their design choices enabled them to extend their lead to 2 hours on the penultimate day. Aerodynamics expert Jasper Hemmes: “Nuna9’s compact, lightweight and aerodynamic design features enabled us to drive at a great speed. Due to this aerodynamic design, we were able to profit from the suction – caused by the wind.” Strategy analyst Stijn Burger elaborates: “Thanks to the information provided by our meteo team we were able to maximise our
energy incomes.”

The race in the Cruiser Class has yet to be decided.

Result Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2017, top five:

Rank Team Location Distance Arrival time Average Speed
1
3. Nuon Solar Team 
Nuna9
Adelaide
3021 km
14:10:41
81.2 km/h
2
2. University of Michigan Solar Car Team 
Novum
Adelaide
3021 km
16:09:18
77.1 km/h
3
8. Punch Powertrain Solar Team 
Punch Two
Adelaide
3021 km
16:38:56
76.2 km/h
4
10. Tokai University 
Tokai Challenger
Adelaide
3021 km
16:48:50
75.9 km/h
5
21. Solar Team Twente 
RED Shift
Adelaide
3021 km
16:56:18
75.6 km/h

Photo by Jorrit Lousberg

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Tim is co-founder of ElectricAutosport.com and works in international motorsport. He found his passion for sustainable racing by joining world’s first competition for hydrogen electric vehicles in 2008. He does not doubt on the possibility of a break through of electric racing. And that deserves a platform to keep up to date and to interact. Tim operates on behalf of Formula Blue Media.

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