Belgians grab gold for second time in a row at World Cup Australia
Adelaide, Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2023
Thursday 26 October - The Innoptus Solar Team has just finished first in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the world championship for solar cars taking place in Australia. The KU Leuven students grab gold for the second time in a row, after already becoming world champions in 2019. The engineering students had a flawless edition.
The Belgians took the coveted title today, allowing them to fulfil their ultimate goal. After 15 months of working on the Infinite, their solar car, they crossed the finish line first in Adelaide today. The students thus take home the world title for the second time in a row. For the team members, it is a dream come true. The students were excited at the start of the final this morning.
"In just under an hour, the final day of the competition will begin. We feel we can win, but we all have to stay very focused. If everyone performs their duties and responsibilities well, we can win the world title."
Matthias Witvrouw (24, Genk), Mechanical Engineer at the Innoptus Solar Team
The engineering students had a dream edition. They were able to start second after their handsome qualifying lap. During the first hour of the race, they were able to leave the team from Aachen behind and took the lead. They were able to defend and hold this leading position until the finish.
The team did have to endure some challenges. They were faced with smoke from neighbouring forest fires, which meant they received less solar energy than expected. The engineering students had to adjust their strategy accordingly.
"We have had a flawless edition. We arrived first in Adelaide and that is because we followed our own strategy for 3,000 kilometres. We had to anticipate a number of elements: there were bushfires along the way which meant less incoming power, other things like clouds and the weather which was constantly changing but we were able to stick to our strategy and anticipate all the time and that ensures that we are now first across the line here in Adelaide."
Cedric Verlinden (23, Holsbeek), Teammanager at the Innoptus Solar Team
On top of that, a wind picked up in recent days. Their innovative fin allowed their solar car, the Infinite, to maintain speed. This allowed them to keep their biggest competitor, the team from Twente, at bay.
It turned into an intense titanic battle in which both teams were evenly matched throughout the race. The teams pushed each other, and their solar cars, to the limit. The Dutch participants managed to keep constant pressure on the Belgians until just before the finish and put them under fire.
"Solar Team Twente definitely didn't make it easy for us. We really tried super hard until the end to stay minutes ahead and we succeeded. The fin was our secret weapon and we did super well with it."
Pauline Vanvuchelen (24, Kinrooi), Marketing at the Innoptus Solar Team
Both teams employed different strategies, and KU Leuven students are reaping the benefits of their tactical choices today.
"Our dream has finally come true. We are now standing here in Adelaide and are world champions. We have worked super hard for 15 months for this. This is really just indescribable. We are going to take this with us for all our lives and always remember it."
Bo July (23, Bekkevoort), Marketing at the Innoptus Solar Team