World Solar Challenge 2011
Okinawan high school team finishes 13th in a solar car race across Australia

World Solar Challenge 2011<br> Okinawan high school team finishes 13th in a solar car race across Australia

Members of Team Okinawa celebrate crossing the finish-line in Adelaide, South Australia.

October 24, 2011 Sadaharu Shimabukuro of the Ryukyu Shimpo

On October 23, the final day of the 2011 World Solar Challenge – the world’s largest solar car race, about 3000 kilometers across Australia – Team Okinawa “Lequion” finished the race by crossing the finish-line in Adelaide. Team Okinawa was formed with students from public high schools centered on a core of young people from Okinawa Nanbu Technical High School. Students from local high schools came together like this to become the first Japanese public high school team to have a tilt at the World Solar Challenge. They travelled 2408 kilometers powered by the sun, and finished 13th out of 37 participating teams.

The teams started the race in Darwin in the north of Australia on October 16, covering a huge distance in the days that followed.

Only three teams actually crossed the finishing line, because the race was affected by a wildfire on the third day and by bad weather on the fourth and fifth days of the race, when overcast conditions blocked the sunlight required to supply fuel energy to the cars, so it was tough going for most of the teams.

On the sixth day, October 21, at a point 2386 kilometers from the start-line “Lequion” gave up on being self-propelled by sunlight. They finally arrived in Adelaide using a combination of transport by truck and self-propulsion using sunlight. However, they struggled to get among the higher places claimed by the likes of Cambridge University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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