Home » UK’s first collaborative World Solar Challenge team launches. Seeks 1st British win on event’s 30th anniversary.

UK’s first collaborative World Solar Challenge team launches. Seeks 1st British win on event’s 30th anniversary.

– Solar Team Great Britain to compete in 2017 running of 3,022km race for solar vehicles
– Expertise from Airbus, HEFCE, IMechE, Qinetiq, Bath / Bristol Universities
– Team also announcing corporate sponsorship packages

Today sees the launch of a new British solar-car racing team, which seeks to be the first UK team to win the prestigious Bridgestone World Solar Challenge race across Australia and end the Dutch dominance of of the event.

Solar Team Great Britain is based in the South West and is the inaugural project of the Sustainable Futures Foundation. The team is UK wide project, and draws on an impressive array of expertise from across the UK – with team members from organisations including Bristol University, Bath University, Airbus, HEFCE, IMechE and Qinetiq.

Solar Team Great Britain's core team of engineers and experts

The team’s R&D process is underway, and today also sees the launch of its corporate sponsorship drive, seeking to raise £500,000 from British firms. A crowdfunding drive will also be announced later this year.

The prestigious biennial race for solar cars sees teams compete over 3,022 km from Darwin, on Australia’s north coast, to Adelaide, on its south.

Race route – Image credit: Hideki Kimura

Solar Team Great Britain will race in the Cruiser (family car) Class. This category was launched in 2013, to help drive innovation of practical solar vehicles.

It has been won on both runnings by the Eindhoven University of Technology – with an average 2015 speed of 76.73 km/h (47.68 mph).

Dutch teams have also dominated the Challenger (single seater) class since the turn of the century, with Delft University winning 6 of the last 8 races.

The UK has never won the event.

Steven Heape, founder and team manager says: “With many of the world’s leading racing teams, car manufacturers and supporting-technology companies either headquartered in the UK or having significant R&D operations, Britain now has some of the world’s best engineer talent.

By creating a British, rather than a British-university team, we are able to work with this talent regardless of where they are based. With the 2017 regulations newly announced, we are now looking to collaborate with these companies and universities as well as starting our sponsorship drive.

Key stages:
5th June 2016 – Bridgestone World Solar Challenge announce 2017 regulations document
October 2016 – reconnaissance trip to analyse the route
January 2017 – design complete and production commences
31 March 2017 – closing date for entries
April 2017 – prototype ready for testing
July 2017 – car shipped to Australia
8th October 2017 – race begins, with the winning cars expected on the 12th October


Image library

All images in this release are free to use for press use provided an image credit is given as per the below. Each of the below links to a higher-resolution version for use in both print and online.


Image description / credit

Image 1: The Solar Team Great Britain, taken in Millenium Square Bristol. Team founder / Manager Steven Heape is third from left – image credit STGB
Image 2: Route map – image credit: Hideki Kimura
Image 3 / 4 : 2015 Cruiser class winner from Eindhoven University of Technology – image credit: Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2015 & Bart Van Overbeeke for Eindoven photos.
Image 5: 2015 Challenger class winner from Delft University of Technology racing across the Australian outback – image credit: Bridgestone World Solar Challenge
Image 6: Aerodynamics expert John Woodcock at a Solar Team Great Britain design meeting – image credit: STGB
Image 7: Solar Team Great Britain logo – image credit: STGB

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