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Posted on 08-10-2017
Greatest danger is the Australian heat
Amsterdam / Delft, 8 October 2017 - A successful first race day for the Nuon Solar Team at
the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. They were the fourth team to start, but after a
nerve-racking day they managed to pass their competitors. Ultimately, they overtook
Tokai University: the Nuon Solar Team’s strongest competitor for many years. Western
University Sydney finished fourth, followed by Twente and the Belgian team Punch. The
team’s largest enemy, however, was the unbearable Australian heat: with a maximum
measured temperature of fifty degrees Celsius in Nuna9.
The first racing day was cloudy at first for the Nuon Solar Team. Three other teams were in
sight: Belgium with Punch Two, Japan with Horizon 17 and the Australian team from Sydney
with Unlimited 2.0. “We were positive that we would overtake the Belgian, Japanese and
Australian teams today with our racing machine Nuna9”, says Sharon van Luik – who was the
first to drive in Nuna today. “However, you still have to translate these words in actual
deeds. That was an incredibly difficult task. Especially with the heavy traffic and strong
winds, we had to manage with today. Ultimately, we went above and beyond. A great day to
Race minutes won despite slowest start
This first race day is the slowest in the history of the Nuon Solar Team – participating for the
ninth time. That is due to the significantly reduced surface area of Nuna’s solar panel, in line
with the new regulations of the BWSC-organisation. Nonetheless, much time was bought at
the so-called ‘control stops’. Driver Emma Vercoulen thinks that the team’s main advantage
can be found in the ingenious way that they lift their solar panel at the obligatory stops. “We
use a handle, which allows our race drivers the leave the vehicle quickly and aim the panel in
the sun’s direction – for a maximum efficiency. We save a lot of time compared to our
Sudoku’s in the heat
Today’s most important enemy was the sweltering heat, which resulted in temperatures of
fifty degrees Celsius in the cockpit. Lisanne de Rooij, the driver who finished the day: “The
heat was unbearable. It’s 39 degrees outside, but the temperature in the cockpit is 15
degrees higher. And we can’t bring along more than two liters of water.” Fortunately, the
drivers of the Nuon Solar Team are prepared for these conditions. They have trained their
concentration by making sudoku’s in a sauna.
The Nuon Solar Team’s major competitors from Belgium and Sydney-Australia have had
technical problems. Nuna9 has finished the day without any major problems, to the
satisfaction of the students of Delft University of Technology. Major difficulties with their
battery jeopardized their participation in the weeks leading up to the race. Luckily, they’ve
apparently managed to make their racing machine roadworthy – just on time. The Nuon
Solar Team has the intention to prolong their championship title in Adelaide, this Thursday
the 12 th of October. A seventh title is certainly not a matter of course, as the looming
competition is stronger than ever. Two years ago the team won with a lead of 8 minutes
compared to the runner-up.
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.