If you made a four-wheeled bogie as a child, you might understand why the teams in this year’s World Solar Challenge are so passionate about their eco machines.
Some of them have spent two years preparing for the 3000km journey from Darwin to Adelaide, only powered by the rays of the sun. Many have also put their lives and careers on hold to ensure their team is on the start line Darwin tomorrow, as I discovered talking to them in the race HQ today.
A few came agonisingly close to making it but fell at the last hurdle. The Saudi team built and shipped their car over to Australia, only for the transport lorry to become involved in a major accident that destroyed the vehicle. No wonder they needed counselling afterwards.
It was a similar story for the British team from Cambridge University. Their slimline car was hailed as a potential winner a few months back. Then it proved unstable on the road, was involved in two accidents and is now unlikely to even finish the race.
I’m off now to buy barrels of water for the trip down to Alice Springs, 900 miles south of Darwin. We’re stopping half way at Tennant’s Creek where asking for wifi might be considered offensive. Consequently, Car Couture may be ‘missing in action’ for a few days.
Stick with us – the photos should be good if nothing else…