KU Leuven solar car finishes third at Bridgestone World Solar Challenge


The Punch Powertrain Solar Team, the Belgian team of KU Leuven engineering students, finished the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge race in third place. TU Delft won the race, prolonging their title. 

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is the unofficial world championship for solar cars where a total of 3 021 km between Darwin and Adelaide has to be bridged. The Belgian Punch Powertrain Solar Team came in in third place, two hours after the Nuon Solar Team from TU Delft and 20 minutes after the University of Michigan. The University of Tokai and Solar Team Twente complete the top five. A total of approximately 40 cars from 21 countries participated in this year's race. 

After starting the race in first position, a small set of mechanical drawbacks and quick tire changes dropped the Belgian team back in to sixth place. However, the last three days of the race, Punch2 proved its high potential by regaining three of those lost places. The team is said to be happy with their third place finish.

Punch Powertrain Solar Team's seventh participation saw the introduction of 3D modular scanning on their driver. This way, the team could fit their car, aptly named Punch2, around the driver. With an average speed of 76,2 km/h over outback roads in soaring temperatures, every car had to be manufactured in order to resist these fierce conditions. In the cabins, the drivers often had to withstand temperatures op to 50°C.