The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge has again showed off the talents of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) experts from universities around the world.
The Netherlands claimed a seventh World Solar Challenge title last week after its solar-powered car drove the length of the Australian continent in a little over 37 hours.
The race across Australia has run for the past three decades, with 2017 marking its 30th anniversary.
The challenge ran between Oct 8 and 15, featuring 42 cars powered only by the sun racing from Australia’s tropical north to its southern shores, a gruelling 3,000km endurance test through the outback.
The Nuon Solar Team from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, entering the lightest car in the field, reached the finish line in 37 hours, 10 minutes and 41 seconds, according to race organisers.
— Bridgestone World Solar Challenge ☀️ (@WorldSolarChlg) October 15, 2017
The United States – represented by the University of Michigan’s Engineering Faculty – came in second place.
— Michigan Solar Car (@UMSolarCarTeam) October 15, 2017
The fastest time on record in the race was achieved by Japan’s Tokai University in 2009, completing the transcontinental race in only 29 hours and 49 minutes.
Nuon team manager Sander Koot said drivers were forced to adjust their strategy after encountering wind gusts of up to 60km per hour to profit from the winds as if a sailing ship.
The race starts in the northern city of Darwin and ends in the southern city of Adelaide, with cars typically reaching speeds of 90kph to 100 kph.
Organisers said the biennial event had attracted one of the widest fields ever, with teams from more than 40 countries.
Additional reporting by Reuters