Last night, the Agoria Solar Team car was the first to cross the finish line in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. This achievement is a wonderful reward for the KU Leuven students in the team, who spent 15 months working on their car, the BluePoint.
"It feels incredible to be standing here at the finish line as world champions," says a very enthusiastic team manager Willem-Jan Claes. Yesterday, it became clear that the final part of the competition would be a neck-and-neck race. On the penultimate day of racing, the Belgian team had virtually eliminated their 43-minute time difference thanks to a clever racing strategy. A mere 2 minutes and 27 seconds behind the leading team, the KU Leuven students started the last day of the race. The team took first place about 250 kilometres before the finish line. "For this year's edition, we focused on the reliability and finishing touches of the car, and that strategy has paid off," Claes continues.
In this year's race, the time differences between the leading teams were remarkably small compared to previous years. In this edition of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the competing solar cars were very similar, and so was the strategy of the teams. This caused the teams to push their cars to the limit. After running many tests with the BluePoint, the Agoria Solar Team knew exactly how far they could go. The result of their hard work is a well-deserved first place.
The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is a 3021-kilometre race with 46 participating teams from 23 different countries. The race started on 13 October. The teams have to build a completely new solar car for each edition.
Source: Tine Danschutter, Katrien Bollen, KU Leuven News
Cover photo: courtesy of News1 (Australia)