Belgians Win Gold for the Second Consecutive Time at the World Solar Challenge in Australia
Adelaide, Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2023
Thursday, Oct. 26 - The Innoptus Solar Team just finished first in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the world championship for solar cars taking place in Australia. The KU Leuven students are thus taking gold for the second time in a row, after already becoming world champions in 2019. The engineering students had a flawless edition.
Today, the Belgians secured the coveted title, fulfilling their ultimate goal. After 15 months of work on their solar car, the Infinite, they crossed the finish line in Adelaide as the first to do so. The students thus take home the world title for the second time in a row. For the team members, it is a dream come true. The students were excited at the start of the finals this morning.
In just a short hour, the last day of the race begins. We feel that we can win, but we all must remain very focused. If everyone executes their tasks and responsibilities well, we can bring home the world title.
Matthias Witvrouw (24, Genk), Mechanical Engineer at Innoptus Solar Team
The engineering students had a dream edition. They started second after an impressive qualification round. During the first hour of the race, they overtook the team from Aachen and took the lead. They held on to this leading position until the finish.
The team did face some challenges, though. They had to deal with smoke from nearby bushfires, which meant they received less solar energy than expected. The engineering students had to adapt their strategy accordingly.
"We've had a flawless edition. We arrived first in Adelaide, and that's only because we followed our own strategy for 3000 kilometers. We had to adapt to some elements: there were bushfires along the way, which reduced incoming power, as well as other factors like clouds and constantly changing weather. However, we were able to stick to our strategy and anticipate, which is why we are the first to cross the finish line here in Adelaide."
- Cedric Verlinden (23, Holsbeek), Team Manager at Innoptus Solar Team
Furthermore, strong winds picked up in the last few days. Thanks to their innovative fin, their solar car, the Infinite, maintained speed. This allowed them to keep their main competitor, the team from Twente, at a distance.
Battle of Titans
It was an intense titanic battle in which both teams were evenly matched throughout the entire race. The teams pushed each other, and their solar cars, to the limit. The Dutch participants kept the pressure on the Belgians until very close to the finish line, keeping them on their toes.
"Solar Team Twente didn't make it easy for us at all. We really worked super hard until the end to stay a few minutes ahead, and we succeeded. The fin was our secret weapon, and it served us extremely well."
- Pauline Vanvuchelen (24, Kinrooi), Marketing at Innoptus Solar Team
Both teams employed different strategies, and today, the KU Leuven students are reaping the rewards of their tactical choices.
Our dream has finally come true. We're here in Adelaide now, and we're world champions. We've worked super hard for 15 months to achieve this. It's truly indescribable. We'll carry this with us for the rest of our lives and always remember it.
Bo July (23, Bekkevoort), Marketing at Innoptus Solar Team