Belgium’s Innoptus Solar Team has won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (BWSC), the world championship for solar cars taking place in Australia. The students take home the world title for the second time in a row after already becoming world champions in 2019.
The BWSC an international solar car competition, the route extending approximately 3,000 km from Darwin to Adelaide in Australia. With the exception of a four-year gap between the 2019 and 2023 events, owing to the cancellation of the 2021 event due to COVID restrictions, the World Solar Challenge is typically held every two years. It invites teams of engineers, mostly students from around the world, to promote the innovation of solar-powered cars.
The Belgian team, Innoptus, defended the title they won in 2019, when the Dutch team, Twente, suffered a fire accident that cost them the victory. This year, the Innoptus team maintained their narrow lead over the Dutch for nearly the entire time.
They crossed the finish line in 34 hours, 4 minutes, and 41 seconds – 48 minutes faster than their previous win. The team Twente from the Netherlands followed them closely, finishing in second place with a time of 34 hours, 24 minutes, 58 seconds.
“We have had a flawless edition. We arrived first in Adelaide, and that is because we followed our own strategy for 3,000 kilometers,” said Cedric Verlinden, team manager at the Innoptus Solar Team.
“We had to anticipate a number of elements: there were bushfires along the way, which meant less incoming power, and 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.”
The Belgian’s aerodynamic Infinite, with its futuristic fin designed for stability, seemed to revel in the tough, windy conditions that proved challenging to many in the Proejcta Challenger Class.
“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,” said Pauline Vanvuchelen, Marketing at the Innoptus Solar Team, in a statement.