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Posted on 07-10-2017
Great starting position gives team a good deal of confidence after period of
Het Nuon Solar Team will be the fourth team to start at the Bridgestone World Solar
Challenge, the official world championship solar car racing, in Australia tomorrow
morning. Nuna9 was by far the fastest Dutch team on the ‘Hidden Valley’ circuit in Darwin,
last night. The winner of the qualifications, the Belgian team, was only ten seconds faster
than the Nuon Solar Team. This is a major windfall for the students of Delft University of
Technology, who have struggled with the consequences of their delayed battery for quite
some weeks now.
With a full year of doing research, designing and building Nuna9 behind them, the Nuon
Solar Team has one goal in mind: bringing home the world championship trophy to the
Netherlands – for the seventh time. The multi-day race between Darwin and Adelaide will be
the most exciting one yet. The competition is stronger than ever; the altered regulations
have resulted in a great variety of car designs; and precious testing-time was lost when
Nuna9’s battery was delayed for over two weeks.
Flawless race despite rainfall
The qualification was especially nerve-racking for 20-year- old race driver Emma Vercoulen,
the youngest member of the Nuon Solar Team ever. “We have worked very hard and we
believe that, with Nuna9, we have developed a true racing machine. Still, there was a great
pressure to perform today and, in addition to that, we’ve had rainfall this morning. This can
result in a slippery track. Luckily, the weather cleared up and we’ve had a flawless
Last months, Emma has trained extra hard, for example on the Zandvoort racing circuit and
in a simulator which prepared her for the Darwin circuit. She is very satisfied with their
result. “A fourth place is very nice. The Belgians, the fastest team at the qualifications, were
just ten seconds faster than our team. Now we are ready to race, we can’t wait until
tomorrow.” Race driver Sharon van Luik will start for the Nuna team tomorrow: “This is a
great feeling: we’ve passed the first test. Now I’m focussing on the start of the race and I
can’t wait until tomorrow.”
Team is confident
Their starting position – as fourth – has given the team confidence for the race, says team
manager Sander Koot: “We will only have to pass three teams to become the leading team.
Overtaking our competitors is very energy consuming and is unfavourable for our efficiency
performance. That really made this qualification essential. The outcome has made us
confident for the days to come.”
The teams which will be starting before Nuna are: Belgium with Punch Two, Japan with
Horizon 17 and the Australian team from Sydney with Unlimited 2.0. The other Dutch teams
– from Eindhoven and Twente – will start as 18 th and 32 nd respectively. In total 38 teams will
be participating, spread in different classes. The solar cars will start in a row tomorrow, with
30 seconds between the teams. They will drive through Darwin’s city centre to the Stuart
Highway, where they adventure in the Australian outback will begin.
The smallest and lightest of the competition
The design of Nuna9 is revolutionary, says their aerodynamics engineer Jasper Hemmes
proudly. “Nuna9 is significantly smaller than her predecessors and we got rid of the
traditional protruding front. We have created a compact racing machine, with the air
resistance of the sidemirror of a Tesla car.” Nuna is moreover the lightest car of the
competition. This was announced by the racing officials at the scrutineering, last
Wednesday. “Nuna9 has a weight of 141,0 kilogram”, says Jasper. “That is great news,
because every abundant kilogram is unfavourable for our performance.
The new regulations of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge have incited the new car
design, says spokeswoman Sarah Bennink Bolt. The maximum surface size of the solar panel
has been reduced with a factor of 1,5 – compared to 2015. “This year’s edition is very
interesting as every team has translated the regulations differently in their car design. This
has resulted in the greatest variation of car designs yet. Some competitors have designed a
longer, narrower car. Exciting: we will find out this week, what design is the best one.”
The adventure will begin this Sunday morning, October 8 th at 8 a.m. (Australian time). The
students from Delft have been working towards this moment for over a year. The team’s
goal is to win the race for a seventh time in Adelaide, on Thursday the 12 th . This is certainly
not a matter of course: the competition is stronger than ever. Two years ago, the Nuon Solar
Team became world champion when they beat Twente by 8 minutes, which is a slight victory
for a 3.000-kilometer race.
The Nuon Solar Team and the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in numbers:
38: in total there are 38 teams from 21 countries who participate in the Bridgestone
World Solar Challenge (BWSC). The largest solar race of the world is therefore the
unofficial World Championship solar car racing.
3.000: the solar cars will race a distance of 3.000 kilometers through the Australian
outback, from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south. The race commences
Sunday the 8 th of October and the winner will – most likely – finish on Thursday the
12 th .
6+2: the Nuon Solar Team has participated in the BWSC eight times. They are the six-
time champion and were two times the runner-up.
16: the team consists of sixteen students, from various technical studies at Delft
University of Technology.
3: for the first time, all three race drivers will be women: Emma, Lisanne and sharon.
9: Nuna9 is the nineth solar car built by the Nuon Solar Team.
03: all solar cars designed by the Nuon Solar Team can be recognized by the number
03 of 3. This was the starting number of Nuna1 and has been their lucky number eversince.