Belgians consolidate lead during scorching hot day in World Cup Australia
Alice Springs, Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2023
Monday, 23 October - The Innoptus Solar Team was today able to increase its lead in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the world solar car championship taking place in Australia. The students had to adjust their strategy several times throughout the day as less solar energy came in due to smoke from neighbouring forest fires on this scorching hot day. They are currently halfway through their journey from Darwin to Adelaide.
KU Leuven students started first today after leading yesterday after their dream start. They were able to further increase their lead throughout the day today. The Infinite was smoothly piloted along the course thanks to the team's smooth cooperation. They are currently 67 km ahead of their pursuers, the team from Twente. The team from Delft follows them closely, 80 km behind the Belgians.
"We started yesterday in second position but we were quickly able to exchange that for first place. Through our smooth procedures and communication, we were able to further increase the lead today. "
Ebert Kiekens (22, Geel) Energy Engineer at the Innoptus Solar Team
Heat and Forest Fires
Today was the hottest day of the world championship. This heat came with a lot of extra challenges for the team, the car and the drivers. In the months leading up to the world championship, they were trained on this.
"It is very hot today. That makes it extra challenging to drive. We have been preparing for this for months in advance. We went into heat rooms, we also have cooling vests. The next stretch will be the toughest though, because that's the longest stretch of the day."
Gilles De Baets (26, Bruges), Pilot at the Innoptus Solar Team
The heat also brought a strategic challenge. Smoke from neighbouring forest fires meant less solar energy was brought in than expected in some parts of the route. Throughout the day, the students had to revisit their mathematical models, which determine the optimal speed of the solar car, several times due to the varying energy output.
"We encountered a number of forest fires which created a fair amount of smoke. It is strategically very challenging to respond to this. This we did super well. We are now working on a fantastic evening charge."
Annelies De Geeter (23, Kessel-Lo), Strategist at the Innoptus Solar Team
The students are halfway through their journey from Darwin to Adelaide. The next few days promise to be exciting. The changing weather conditions force the participating teams to constantly adjust their strategy. The students are confident in their strategy. They hope to use the crosswinds to their advantage tomorrow. Their rotating fin allows them to sail downwind. The team members expect to arrive in Adelaide on Thursday.