The first Australian team to complete this year’s 3,000-kilometre World Solar Challenge race from Darwin has crossed the finish line in Adelaide in eighth place, hours ahead of their personal best time. The Brisbane-based Clenergy Team Arrow was pushing to make the finish line late yesterday but their car, Arrow1-GT, ran out of power. Despite the disappointment of stopping short of the finish line yesterday team manager Anthony Prior said he was happy with the car’s performance. “We had four days of pretty faultless running,” he said. “Then on the last day we got a bit aggressive and came in and tried to get into Adelaide a bit fast. “We just ran out of battery on the last day just before we got into Adelaide so we just parked it up this morning charged it up a bit and cruised in this morning.”
The race began on Sunday with 42 cars from 25 countries participating in the biennial event.
Clenergy recorded a time of 45:22, more than seven hours behind the time of the winner of the challenger class, the Dutch team Nuon Solar.
Mr Prior said the team finished the race hours ahead of their finish time from the last time the event was held in 2013. “We’ve taken a number of hours off our time so we’re stoked,” he said.
Clenergy started as a team in 2012 and is made up of a mix of technology and engineering and IT industry people and students from Brisbane, who work very closely with the Queensland University of Technology. Mr Prior said the team really came together for this year’s race.
“It was a beautiful run,” he said.
In 2013 the team finished one place better, in seventh position, but Mr Prior said there was “really strong competition this year”. “Amazing cars have come out this time,” he said. “We’re just amazed at how far they’ve come in the last couple of years.
When the event is held again in 2017 Clenergy is thinking about making a shift to the fast-growing cruiser class that features cars capable of carrying passengers.