A team from Belgium’s KU Leuven University has been awarded for winning a 3,000-km (1,864-mile) race for solar cars through the Australian outback, arrangers said, as the cars reached the South Australian capital of Adelaide on Thursday.
The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is globally recognized as one of a few of the most prestigious solar car races, created to foster the development of experimental, solar vehicles by students. The half-yearly event started in 1987, with an objective to show that a 1,000-watt car could finish the trip from Australia’s northern city of Darwin to Adelaide in fifty hours.
“For the very first time in the record of our solar team we are WORLD CHAMPIONS,” the Belgian team, which won its eighth trial, made such a post on Twitter. The team, named Agoria, was the first to reach the finish line in their low Blue Point car, in a time just short of 73 hours over five short days, after the previously leading car flamed out last minute
Behind them was a team from Japan’s Tokai University that reached a few minutes later, and third place was earned by a team from the University of Michigan. The Dutch squad Vattenfall Solar’s car Nuna X went in flames 300 km (186 miles) short of the finish line, leaving the vehicle a blackened, smoking mess. The driver managed to get out without injury. However, the team posted on social media. The Belgian winners also received praise from the country’s royals and its air force on Twitter.