“SolarCar, go-go-go!” is a message we haven’t heard coming through our radios in a long time. But today’s the day to get the thyssenkrupp SunRiser rolling again. Our quick testing session from a few days ago worked out well enough. Now it’s time to cover some real distance. This Monday, we do our testing on a small airfield south of Darwin. The field is owned by the local MKT Top End Flying Club who recently gave us permission to use their grounds.
We want to get going early on Monday morning, but departing from our workshop turns out more difficult than we thought. When attaching the trailer carrying our SolarCar to the car pulling it, none of its back lights seem to work. Our electricians take a closer look at the matter, only to discover that packing everything up the night before seems to have short circuited the vehicle in some way. Luckily, fixing the issue doesn’t take all that long in the end, and we’re still able to attend the better part of our testing session.
Once at the airfield, things run a lot smoother. The tkSR gets loaded off the trailer on arrival and is immediately given its regular checkup. With no issues to be found, our SolarCar gets cleared for testing. And off we go. Over the course of several hours, our convoy drives up and down the runway, time and again. We leave the airfield to drive back to Darwin later in the afternoon. Many of our technicians put some real team spirit on display once we get back, as they stay at the workshop long into the night, already getting everything ready for the following days.
We depart to our next test drive Wednesday morning at six. This time our destination is at Gunn Point Road, which leads to a nearby coastal town of the same name. The organizers of BWSC had this particular road made available to teams for testing, also because of the low amount of traffic in this remote area. We spend all day on this very street, simulating an entire day of racing along the Stuart Highway. This includes both thirty-minute checkpoints, during which teams can catch their breath and refuel their escort vehicles.
Never Stop Practising
And once again, the thyssenkrupp SunRiser shows its amazing durability. At the end of the day, the total distance covered measures longer than 600 kilometers, which would be a more than comfortable amount during the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. And so, we’re able to finish the day with ease.
But wonderful experiences are to be found everywhere in Australia, even off the road. Owing to BWSC’s immense popularity in the Territory and around the country, we’re being regularly recognized as a participating team. No matter the situation, people always like to ask about our background, and whether they may have a look at our car. The excitement and great interest with which the locals keep greeting us has made us feel truly welcome in their country by now.