World Solar Challenge 2013

Most people will have noticed that the 2013 World Solar Challenge is rapidly approaching – just 15 days away at this time! Judging by the e-mails I’m getting, people have noticed this by the rate I’m updating (or rather, not updating) this website.

Lately I’ve been quite busy starting my other website,, and to fill it with information about the WSC. This will take up even more of my time until a while after the WSC (where I’m going to get that time from, I have no idea at this time :)). People who’ve been following this website for some time know that I’ve reported about the 2009 and 2011 more or less 24/7, and I intend to to the same in two weeks time – but on the separate website.

The drought on this website will continue for some time, but I intend to make up for that during the winter.

New (additional) website:

2007 WSC visitors graph

About a year and a half after I started this website in June 2006, the 2007 World Solar Challenge rolled around. Of course I ‘d heard of it before, especially because a Dutch team had been doing very well with four consecutive number one positions, but now I had a website and during the race I wrote a few articles per day about it. I was amazed by the number of visitors the articles drew (see the graph), and also I received lots of e-mails with tips, links to websites, news articles and videos. At the time, this website was still a simple html-site, so the visitors had no way of leaving comments. Continue reading

World Solar Challenge 2013 news

New 2013 WSC website

The World Solar Challenge organisation has put their new website online. There’s not much information there yet, but there is a small announcement online stating that more information about the race rules and date will be made available on the 19th of June. So we’ll have to patient for a bit less than two weeks.

I am curious about the new rules, because when I put my ear against the rumour machine I hear things about a four-wheeled class. I honestly don’t know what shape this all will take, but rest assured I’ll bring you news about it as soon as I can confirm it.

Documentary Indian Solar Car Project

The Indian Solar Car team has published a twenty-minute documentary about their participation in the 2011 World Solar Challenge:

The video also pointed me to the team’s website and weblog, information which eluded me before and during the race. It’s very interesting to see how well this team performed on a budget that was much less than five percent of some of the larger teams. Although the documentary is a bit scarce on technical details, combining it with information from the website makes it clear that this team had to overcome many hurdles to even be able to appear at the starting line.

I sure hope to see these guys again in 2013, and I hope for them Indian business will reward their perseverance and ingenuity with sponsorships so that they won’t have to worry (well… at least worry less ;)) about money any more.

Documentary Nuon Solar Team

In the steady stream of documentaries from the solar racing teams there was one team clearly missing: Nuon Solar Team. I saw the documentary in Delft, the team’s home city, in February in a public showing and it was great. Apparently there were some problems with the copyrights or royalties on some of the material (probably music) used in the production, so the release of the online version was delayed by some time.

These problems have all been solved, and has been given the honor of being the very first website to link to the video:

The documentary is exceptionally well-made (and I don’t just say that because I’m Dutch). Both video and audio are great, it’s well-edited, at times hilarious and it captures the excitement and fun of solar racing very well. It even has English subtitles for non-Dutch viewers!

Although Nuon Solar Team didn’t fulfill their hopes of recapturing their first place from the Japanese Tokai University team, there’s absolutely no shame in finishing a mere one hour behind the number one in a three thousand kilometre race. And, as the documentary clearly shows, the team had great fun and experienced something they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Documentary by Ashiya University

The solar team of Japanese Ashiya University beat Dutch Solar Team Twente to the fourth place by mere minutes in the 2011 World Solar Challenge. Before, after and during the race not much information was available about this team, and as their website is in Japanese only I had to make do with rather cryptic Google Translations.

Now they’ve published a thirteen-minute documentary showing their adventures during the WSC. It’s fun to see how they swapped place with Twente several times. The documentary is without any spoken word, it’s all high-quality video, supported by music. Although light on the technical details a fan like me craves :) it’s still worth a watch.


Documentary Belgian Umicore Solar Team 2009

Yesterday a nearly two-hour long documentary appeared online about the Belgian Umicore Solar Team‘s participation in the 2009 World Solar Challenge. As most WSC-fans will remember, this team suffered both an excursion into the gravel pit during dynamic scrutineering and a heavy crash on the very first racing day which damaged their racing car Inspire beyond repair. At the time of the crash the team was in second position.

The team was of course extremely disappointed to see the work of a year and half crash in less than a second, but also proud that the car fully protected the driver in the 100+ km/h crash.

The documentary shows the team’s preparation for the race, the first racing day, the crash and its aftermath, and the remainder of the race between the other teams.

It’s unfortunate for non-Dutch speakers that the documentary has no English subtitles. As very little English is spoken (a few race officials here and there) I’m afraid this won’t be very interesting for non-Dutch speakers.

For those specifically interested in the crash; it’s in the sixth part from around 4m00.

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