World Solar Challenge 1999 - Report 1

10 am

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.

Front-on view of car on test run


We have had excellent solar energy for the tests, and the car is running as we had hoped. The weather is hot and humid, and partly cloudy. We are camped close to where 12 Japanese teams are established near the Trade Development Zone.

Our plan today is to go the Hidden Valley for practice runs on the race track for the time trials. The time trials themselves will be held on Saturday.

The team is working flat out, most nights until after midnight. We have had tremendous support from our sponsors here in Darwin, including Finemores, who have given us the use of two-thirds of their Darwin workshop, and Mobil who are supplying all the fuel for the support cars.

 Hard at work

The five support cars, supplied by Ford are complete in their Aurora colours and are looking great! Also here with us is Bob Pound (of R.J. Pound Services), and soon we will have Peter Young (of 101 Collins St) and Peter Murray (of Whirlpool Home Appliances).

We have a Convoy!


So preparations are going well for a great race!

8 pm Update

Well, plans changed. We are scheduled for scrutineering at 2:30 PM tomorrow (Thursday), so we delayed our practice for the time trials until after that. Instead, we concentrated on getting the car ready for the scrutineering, and did a big check through the array. The test results are excellent!

But we did go to the track to watch around 5 other teams do their practice runs, including the team from Annesley College in South Australia.

And as of tonight, all 15 of our team members are here!