On Sunday the 8th of October teams from around the world gathered at Darwin after having navigated through quarantine, customs, scrutineering, safety inspections to take part in the Bridgestone World Solar Car challenge.
This epic race will see participants travel from Darwin to Adelaide, in cars they themselves must have built.
On Sunday the teams launched travelling as far as they can until 5pm in the afternoon where they make camp in the desert where-ever they happen to be.
And because of this all teams must be fully self-sufficient.
Based on the original notion that a 1000W car would complete the journey in 50 hours, solar cars are allowed a nominal 5kW hours of stored energy, which is 10% of that theoretical figure.
All other energy must come from the sun or be recovered from the kinetic energy of the vehicle.
During the journey there are 7 mandatory check points where observers are changed and team managers may update themselves with the latest information on the weather, and their position in the field. At check points, teams can perform the most basic of maintenance only – checking and maintenance of tyre pressure and cleaning of debris from the vehicle.
There are 3 classes that teams can enter.
The Challenger class is considered to be the visually stunning class. Solar cars are slick, single seat aerodynamic masterpieces built for sustained endurance and total energy efficiency.
The Cruiser class is more practical, in this class, solar cars designed for practicality and acceptance in a given market segment.
The Adventure class is more inspirational and is a non competitive class. Here cars built for previous editions of the event can run again. It can also be used as a catchment for those who, while meeting the exacting safety standards, may not have quite made full compliance with the latest requirements.
The World Solar Car challenge finishes on the 15th of October. You can catch up on all the drama and highlights of the race on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as well as track all the cars as they travel across the country.