World Solar Challenge  background and event history





The World Solar Challenge is a solar powered car race over 3021 km through central Australia from Darwin to Adelaide. The race attracts teams from around the world, most of which are fielded by universities or corporations although some are fielded by high schools.


You can be part of one of the greatest adventures of our time.  From tropical Darwin to balmy Adelaide - more than 3000km of some of the most remote and beautiful country on earth.   Design, plan, toil, then race to glory.



Panasonic World Solar Challenge 21-28 October 2007


Once again, the organisers of the WSC welcome Panasonic as the major sponsor of the event, and acknowledge the outstanding vision of that organisation in making that commitment.


What you need to know:


Dates: (Provisional)
Test track available: from 08 October 07
Registration 18 October 07
Start 21 October 07
Awards 28 October 07





The Australian Outback - Darwin to Adelaide





The objective of this competition is to promote research on solar-powered cars. Teams from universities and enterprises participate. In 2005 a maximum of 30 teams will be registered by the organising committee.



Important Rules

  • As the race is over public roads, the cars have to adhere to the normal traffic regulations. Remarkable is the special note in the official regulations on the tendency of drivers to take advantage of a favourable road camber in order to catch as much as possible solar-energy. After midday when the sun is in the west, it would be advantageous to drive on the right side of the highway, provided of course there is no traffic in opposite direction.

  • A minimum of 2 and maximum 4 drivers have to be registered. If the weight of a driver (including clothes) is less than 80 kg, ballast will be added to make up the difference.

  • Driving time is between 0800 and 1700 hours. In order to select a suitable place for the overnight stop (alongside the highway) it is possible to extend the driving period for a maximum of 10 minutes, which extra driving time will be compensated by a starting time delay the next day.

  • At various points along the route there are checkpoints where every car has to pause for 30 minutes. Only limited maintenance tasks (no repairs) are allowed during these compulsory stops.

  • The capacity of the batteries is limited to 5 kWh maximum. At the start of the race, the batteries may be fully charged. Batteries may not be replaced during the competition, except in the situation of a breakdown. However, in that case a penalty time will apply.

  • Except for the maximum outer dimensions, there are no further restrictions on the design and construction of the car.

  • The deceleration of the dual braking system must be at least 3.8 m/s2.


The Challenge


Efficient balancing of power resources and power consumption is the key to success during the race. At any moment in time the optimal driving speed depends on the weather (forecast) and the remaining capacity of the batteries. The team members in the (normal) escort cars will continuously retrieve remotely data from the solar car about its condition and use these data as input for prior developed computer programs to work out the best driving strategy. Therefore the requirement that the foot well for the Official Observer, who is to be hosted by the primary escort vehicle, should not be filled up with computer equipment.


It is equally important to charge the batteries as much as possible in the periods from sunrise till 0800 and from 1700 till sunset. To capture as much solar-energy as possible, the solar panels are generally directed such that these are perpendicular to the incident sun rays. Often the whole car is tilted for this purpose.




The idea for the competition originates from Danish born adventurer Hans Thostrup (1944). He was the first to circumnavigate the Australian continent in a 16 feet open boat. At a later stage in his life he became involved in various competitions with fuel saving cars and trucks. Already in the eighties he became aware of the necessity to explore sustainable energy as a replacement for the limited available fossil fuel. Sponsored by BP, he designed the world's first solar car, called "Quiet Achiever", and traversed the 4052 km between Sydney and Perth in 20 days. That was the precursor of the World Solar Challenger.


After the 4th race, he sold the rights to the state of South Australia and was the leadership assumed by Chris Selwood.


The race was held every three years until 1999 when it was switched to a two year event.


  • The first race was run in 1987 when the winning entry, GM's Sunraycer won with an average speed of 67 km/h.


  • In 1990 the race was won by the "Spirit of Biel", built by engineering school in Switzerland.

  • In 1993 and 1996, Honda took the honours.


  • Finally in 1999 a "home" team, the Australian "Aurora", took the prize.

  • In 2001 the Nuna of the Delft University of Technology from the Netherlands, participating for the first time, was the fastest.


  • In 2003 the Nuna 2, the successor to the winner of 2001 won again, with an average speed of 97 km/h.


  • In 2005 the Nuna team scored a hat-trick with their third victory in a row; their Nuna 3 won with a record average speed of 103 km/h.


Next race


The next race will take place in 2007, 20 years after the first race.






the competition   |   the route  |  entry pack  |  entry regulation  |  the teams  |  team profiles    volunteers

australian international model solar challenge  

  emerging transport technology conference



   Enquiries |    Media Enquiries |    Sponsorship Enquiries | world solar cycle challenge




Results 1987-2003


Download 'Results 1987-2003' here (Excel 20.5KB).Click here to find out where you can see the Solar Cars


Greenfleet Class

Darwin to Adelaide
19-20 October 2003


The World Solar Challenge is proud to announce the Greenfleet Class, where technology meets reality.

The Greenfleet Class will provide a demonstration of hybrid, custom and concept vehicles using technology derived from the World Solar Challenge, and demonstrating energy efficient and low carbon fuels.







Emerging Transport Technology Conference 28-29 October 2003

The motor car as we know it is about to experience a technological revolution. With the combined issues of city air quality, global warming, climate change and the focus on sustainability, comes an imperative for motor vehicle manufacturers to present radically more fuel-efficient vehicles to market. All this will be addressed and more.


Australian International Model Solar Challenge

Victoria Square
  26 October 2003

The Australian International Model Solar Car Challenge is to develop interest and expertise in using solar and renewable energies by school students throughout the world by using active learning processes in addressing real challenges. The national finals will take place in Adelaide at the end of the World Solar Challenge.



World Solar Cycle Challenge

Ceduna - Whyalla - Quorn - Clare
  19-26 October 2003

The World Solar Cycle Challenge is a biennial event and is recognised as the world's leading solar assisted human powered vehicle event. The inaugural challenge was held in 1996 and was a component of the World Solar Challenge. Australia's unique race environment, spanning 1500 kilometres of sun-drenched South Australia from Ceduna to Adelaide, provides the ultimate test in endurance and stamina for race competitors.







Postal Address
GPO Box 1972
Adelaide  5001

Street Address
Level 8
50 Grenfell St
Adelaide  5000


p: +61 8 8463 4500 (switchboard)
p: *61 8 8463 4690
f: +61 8 8463 4718


Media Enquiries
Australian Major Events

Contact: Michele Manno
Address: GPO Box 1972, Adelaide SA 5001
Phone: +61 8 8463 4695
Mobile: 0417 837 896
Fax: +61 8 8463 4718
Email: Michele Manno

Sponsorship Enquiries
Australian Major Events

Contact: Matt Smith
Address: GPO Box 1972, Adelaide SA 5001
Phone: +61 8 8463 4630
Email: Matt Smith



American Solar Challenge     World Solar Rallye - Japan    Sunrayce




Solar Cola - the healthier alternative







Aristotle Uni of Thessaloniki, Helios


Faculty of Engineering

Arizona Solar Racing Team - USA

Arizona Solar Racing Team

Auburn University

Sol of Auburn

Sol of Auburn

Aurora Team, Australia


Aurora Vehicle Association

Bochum Solar Car Team

Das SolarCar der Fachhochschule

California Poly S University

SLO Burn  Sidewinder

San Luis Obispo

Clarkson Uni Solar Car Team, USA

The Solar Knights

Delft University - Holland

NUNA I & II 2003

Dell Winston School

The Hunter

Solar Car Challenge

Desert Rose, Northern Territory Uni


Drexel SunDragon Home Page

École de technologie supérieure Quebec

Eclipse V (5)

Éclipse Vehicular Solaire 

École Polytechnique de Montréal


Eko-Auto  Poland


Electron Analytic Corporation

Dark Horse

EAC Skunkworks

George Washington University

George Washington Uni Solar Car

Georgia Institute of Technology

Solar Jackets

Solar Jackets

Heliodet, Germany


Heliodet, Solar Car Team

Helios - Lille, France

Hélios IV

Hautes Etudes d'Ingénieur

Honda Car Company


Illinois State University

Surya, Ratha, Mercury

Illinois State University Team

Iowa State University


Team PrISUm

Jonasun  Japan


Solar Car Paviion

Kansas State University


Solar Car Racing Team

Los Altos Academy of Engineering

Los Altos Solar Car Team

Massachusetts Institute of Technology



McGill University Monteal, Canada


Team iSun

McMaster University


McMaster Uni Solar Car Project

Messiah College Grantham, Penns

Genesis II

Genesis II Solar Racing Team

Michigan State University


Solar Racing Team

Michigan Technological University

Solar Car Team

Minnesota S Uni-Mankato/Winona S Uni

Minnesota Solar Car Team

North Dakota State University

The Double Deuce

Sunsetters - Solar Race Team

Northwestern University


Northwestern University

Nuon Solar Team, Netherlands

Nuon 3

Het Nuon Solar Team

Osaka Sangyo University, Japan

OSU model S

Solar Car Team

Prairie View A&M University


Sun Panthers

Principia College

RA 6

Principia College Solar Car Team

Purdue University


Purdue University Solar Racing

Queen's University Canada

Radiance  Gemini

Queen's Solar Vehicle Team

Red River College 

Red River Raycer

Red River College Solar Car Team

Rice University

Rice University

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Rose-Hulman Solar Car Team

Southern Illinois Uni Edwardsville

Cougar Cruiser

Southern Illinois University

South Bank University, UK

Mad Dog

South Bank Mad Dog Team

South Dakota School Mines & Tech

Solar Motion

South Dakota Solar Motion Team

Southern Taiwan University Tech

Southern Taiwan Solar Team

Stanford University


Stanford Solar Car Project

Tamagawa University - Japan

Tamagawa Solar Challenge Project

Team Futura, Italy


Team Futura

Team SunLake - Japan

Phaethon model

Team SunLake TOYOBO

Texas A&M University

Columbia Sunraycer

Texas A&M Motorsports Team

The Power of One  - Toronto


The Xof1 solar car team

Tufts University


Nerd Girls

University of Alberta

University of Alberta Team

University of Arizona


Solar Racing Team

University of Calgary


UC Calgary Solar Car Team

University of California-Berkeley


California Calsol Team

University of Kansas

Solution, CATalyst

KSU Solar Car Racing Team

University of Kentucky

Gato del Sol II

Solar Car Team

University of Massachusetts 

Spirit of Mass 413

Lowell Solar Racing Team

University of Michigan


University of Michigan

University of Minnesota

Borealis III

U of M Solar Vehicle Project

University of Missouri Columbia

Suntiger VI

The Mizzou Solar Car Project

University of Missouri Rolla

Solar Miner V

Solar Minor Car Team 

University of North Dakota

Subzero 3

Team SubZero

University of Ontario Institute of Tech

UOI Solar Vehicle Team

Uni of New South Wales SCR Team

UNSW Sunswift III

New South Wales SCR Team

University of Patras, Hermes

Solar Car Team

University of Pennsylvania


Penn Solar Racing

University of Queensland


Queensland Solar Team

University of South Australia


SA Solar Car Consortium

University of Texas at Austin

Solar Steer

Solar Vehicles Team

University of Texas at El Paso



University of Toronto

Blue Sky

Blue Sky Solar Racing

University of Toulouse


Heliotrope Solar Car Team

University of Utah 


Vehicle Design Team Utah

University of Virginia


UVa Solar Car Team

University of Waterloo

Midnight Sun VIII

Midnight Sun Solar Race Team

University of Western Ontario


Sunstang USP Solar Car Team

USP Solar Car Team

USP Solar Car Team

Western Michigan University

Sunseeker 05

W Michigan Solar Car Team

Yale University

The John Lee

Team Lux









1. Chassis - and seating

2. Mechanics - suspension, steering, brakes

3. Motor and drive train

4. Motor controller

5. Solar Array - usually part of body

6. Batteries or fuel cells

7. Electrical System - and instruments

8. Driver Controls - switches, lighting, etc

9. Bodywork - Screen, etc





A new ZEV event set to run from 2015





The content of this website is copyright © and design copyright 1991 and 2014 Electrick Publications. All rights reserved. The bluebird logo & names Bluebird and Blue Max are registered trademarks.  The BE2 and BE3 vehicle configurations are registered designs ®.  All other trademarks are hereby acknowledged.  Max Energy Ltd is an environmental educational charity.