1987 - 1999 Campaigns
Today Rob Shandley took Aurora 101 through the speed trials. We clocked a speed of 94.74 km/h, the fastest Australian qualifier. This is the same speed as we made in 1996, but this time the track was 100 m shorter, so our acceleration performance is a considerable improvement over that last time.
We have had another good day. Today Mark Gilligan has re-built the battery box to fit in extra cells, and the new arrangement has passed scrutineering. We have also done another 200 km of road testing, and practice runs at the Hidden Valley track for tomorrow's speed trials. This gave us a chance to see the Minnesota team (see picture - their car is called, believe it or not, Aurora 4) and the team from Central Queensland Uni., who are racing one of our old cars--the one raced last time by Lake Tuggeranong College.
It has been raining heavily all morning here in Darwin. Currently we are still in scrutineering, with only the batteries left to be checked out. Once that it is finished, we hope that the weather will have cleared up enough for us to do some practice for the speed trials later this afternoon.
The team is almost all here in Darwin. Most had arrived by last Friday and we have spent a couple of days preparing the car. We have had two significant trial runs, and yesterday we ran 350 km from Darwin to Jabiru (in the Kakadu National Park), with 3 drivers. Along the way we saw the Queen's University team from Canada, the Helios team from France, and two teams from Japan.
In 1996 the Honda team went home with the spoils again. The Aurora car was running 4th when an accident forced its withdrawal from the race. For the 1999 race, further work to improve the utilisation of the solar cell array, the brakes, the suspension, and data telemetry from the car to the support crew, is taking place.
In the 1993 World Solar Challenge, the first five cars eclipsed the race record set in 1987 by General Motor's Sunraycer. Aurora Q1 was one of the five. Aurora Q1 crossed the finish line in 5th place in a time of 43:00 hours, only 25 minutes behind third placed Kyocera Son of Sun. Once again, they were the first Australian team to cross the finish line.