ORGANISERS of the world’s foremost solar car race, the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, have announced the largest lineup ever for this year’s running of the biennial event, with 53 teams from 24 countries set to take part.
To be held from 13-20 October, the event invites some of the world’s brightest minds to design, build and develop solar powered cars to traverse 3,000km from Darwin, Northern Territory to Adelaide, South Australia.
Headlining the record entry list are 30 ‘Challenger Class’ entries, which will compete for outright honors in the event, complemented by a 23-strong contingent of ‘Cruiser Class’ entries.
The latter category challenges teams to deliver a practical, marketable solar electric car that is judged on design appeal, as well as energy consumption.
The announcement of the massive field also demonstrates the increasing relevance of the event as part of the worldwide pursuit for sustainable mobility, and its relation to the future of the automotive industry.
Bridgestone has been the title sponsor of the event, and has continuously supplied teams with specially-developed solar car tyres, since 2013, with the aim of helping foster the development of sustainable mobility while supporting the ambitions of young engineers.
The event partnership aligns seamlessly with the three priority areas of Bridgestone’s global corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitment, ‘Our Way to Serve’: mobility, people and environment.
The announcement, held at the finish line of the event, Adelaide’s Victoria Square, was attended by Bridgestone Director of Brand Strategy and Communications Division, Kazutoshi Oyama, Bridgestone Australia & New Zealand Managing Director, Stephen Roche, South Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon David Ridgeway, and Bridgestone World Solar Challenge Event Director, Chris Selwood.
“Bridgestone is committed to the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge on a global level because we share the same values as the event,” Bridgestone ANZ managing director Stephen Roche said.
“We are delighted that this year’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge boasts the largest field ever, and we are encouraged to see so many students sharing our passion for the pursuit of sustainable mobility.”
With the rise in prominence of hybrid technology and growing popularity of electric vehicles around the world, the developments of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge are proving to be increasingly relevant for the future of automotive design.
“The point of this challenge has always been to realise a more sustainable way to travel and we are now so much closer to the reality of sustainable, energy positive, solar electric cars,” said Bridgestone World Solar Challenge event director Chris Selwood.
“BWSC solar cars are no longer the realm of fantastic, imaginary vehicles dreamed up by enthusiasts and niche inventors. The research and development being tested in this event now makes its way into mainstream commercialisation, such as Bridgestone.”