It wasn’t the team’s best showing in the Australian outback — but it was a good recovery with a ninth-place finish overall.
The University’s solar car team took part in the World Solar Challenge, placing ninth overall. The biannual event, which took place from Oct. 6 to Oct. 13, included 40 teams from 23 countries.
The cars start from Darwin and finish in Adelaide, completing a route of 3,000 kilometers. The University of Michigan has a long tradition in the race, having participated in eight races across the unforgiving Outback since 1990.
The University team’s latest car, “Generation,” finished the race on Friday at 13:55 local time. The winner of the race was the Nuon Solar Team from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, while the runner-up was the Tokai University team from Tokyo. Final results were not available until Sunday.
A Oct. 9 crash caused the team to fall back in the rankings. LSA junior Ian Sullivan, the team’s interim business director, said on the fourth day of the race the car was near a control stop when a very strong wind pushed it aside, causing it to fall into a small ditch. No team members were injured in the crash.
The Generation had been in fifth place the first two days and sixth place on the third day.
While he said the crash “definitely put us back in the race,” Sullivan praised the engineers for their ability to fix the car and called the fact that the Generation finished the race “a huge win for us.”
He added that the crash “tested our passion and endurance to keep going.” Inclement weather later in the race forced drivers to go slower.
Sullivan emphasized that the team will use the experience to improve their car and strategize for the 2015 race.
Members of the team will return to the University at different times because most of those involved elected to take an entire semester off in order to focus on the race, Sullivan said.
The team hopes to next compete in the American Solar Challenge, scheduled for 2014.