What can I say? It’s been an extraordinary 3 days! Meeting the Tokai University team and seeing how this cutting edge technology works inside their solar car, the ‘Challenger 2’, has been an incredible experience. They are the only team in the WSC (World Solar Challenge) to be using this custom HIT Panasonic solar panel, designed by Mr Tsuge and his team specifically for Tokai University. These panels are optimised to be efficient even in high temperature conditions – so the grueling climate of Australia’s red centre seems like the perfect way to test them out!
Before the race can begin though, all teams must do a qualifying lap of the Hidden Valley racetrack circuit. These times will determine each team’s starting position.
After speaking with Professor Kimura, the Tokai University team advisor, he explained they would be aiming for a time of around 2:07. He also said they would be careful not to run at 100% power to avoid risk of damage before the big race tomorrow.
With the main competitors having already posted some excellent times, Tokai University made their way to the starting line. Competitors and spectators watched in anticipation of the defending champions’ qualifying lap.
Just moments before starting, the Tokai driver indicated to the professor there was something not right with the vehicle. Tokai decided to delay their start and moved the car back to their working area to examine and test it. But before too long, they were ready to go and the car moved up to the pit lane for the second time today.
The team cheered, and the car flew.
We held our breath until we heard the announcement: Two minutes and seven seconds.
I didn’t hear the split seconds, the cheer from the team was too loud to hear the announcement!
This time puts them in 5th position going in to the race tomorrow. The team felt this was a strong result and were confident with their performance.
Well done Tokai University!
I’ll be sure to keep you up to speed with all the action on race day tomorrow.
To follow Scott’s journey as he accompanies the Tokai University solar car team visit: