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29 August 2017

Western Sydney University’s car racing in the World Solar Challenge 2017: Photos

Testing of the 2017 Solar Car in the lead-up to the opening.

A TEAM of students from Western Sydney University is set to launch what it described as its “top secret” new solar powered car to compete in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in October.

It will be the third time the university has participated in the biannual challenge, which involves a 3000km drive from Darwin to Adelaide using only solar power. The university’s latest entrant will be officially launched at a special event on the Parramatta South campus tonight.

Dubbed the UNLIMITED 2.0, the car is the work of the university’s School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics and a raft of other students who make up the Solar Car Team.

“The team have kept tight-lipped on the details of our new solar car for as long as possible, to maintain our competitive edge in the World Solar Challenge,” said Project Lead Saami Bashar.

“It is exciting to finally unveil to the wider University community, as well as all of our sponsors and supporters, the final result of all of our hard work.”

The vehicle is reminiscent of its predecessor UNLIMITED, hence the 2.0 title. The original version competed in the 2015 World Solar Challenge and crashed after a suspension failure but was hastily repaired and crossed the finishing line in tenth place out of 43 teams.

But in many ways the new edition is a bold departure from the team’s previous entry, its creators say.

Solar Car team on a testing day at Penrith Regatta Centre before the big race.

Solar Car team on a testing day at Penrith Regatta Centre before the big race.Source:Supplied

The 4.58m long, 1.4m wide reincarnation has a sleek, aerodynamic and futuristic-looking design.

“Our aim this year was to build the fastest car we possibly could, to put everything we have into this car to challenge for first position,” Mr Bashar said.

“Our main design philosophy was to generate a very organic body shape. We’ve managed to eliminate the rear overhang and make the fairings much shorter and narrower, while still maintaining enough space to squeeze in the driver, mechanics and electronics.”

Grace Mitchell, the Graphics Design Lead for the team, says another departure from the previous cars was the use of paint on the exterior of UNLIMITED 2.0, compared to vinyl wrapping used in the past.

“Paint provides a much smoother surface, which allows the car to slip through the air with minimal disturbance. We are so pleased with the result of the paint job,” she said.

Solar Car team on a testing day at Penrith Regatta Centre.

Solar Car team on a testing day at Penrith Regatta Centre.Source:Supplied

The 22 member Solar Car team is comprised of Western Sydney University students from the fields of Engineering, Industrial Design and Visual Communications. The students manage every aspect of the production and design of the vehicle, as well as sponsorships, marketing and the administrative elements of their involvement in the Challenge.

The race will take place on October 8 to 15.

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