Canadians fare well in cross-continent solar car race

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

Last week we mentioned the 2007 Panasonic World Solar Challenge, a road race in Australia for 41 solar-powered cars. Well, the results are in and the Canadian teams of university students posted some good results and one award winner.

The University of Calgary Solar Team was the top Canadian finisher in the "Challenge Class" - in which vehicles must meet the requirements as set down by the International Solar Car Governing body, the International Solar Car Federation.

Their vehicle, Soleon II, completed the 3,000-kilometre course - which began in the northern city of Darwin and finished in Adelaide in the south - in 51 hours and 43 minutes to finish eighth. Just six minutes behind was the University of Waterloo's Midnight Sun vehicle, according to the final posted results.

The winner of the top trophy was the Nuon Solar Team from the Netherlands.

Also competing in the challenge class was a team from Queen's University in Kingston, Ont.

Teams from the University of Toronto, the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont. and Polytechnique Montreal competed in an "Adventure Class" race for cars that meet older ISCF standards but not the latest, according to the most recent results from the race organizers. A team from Ashiya University in Japan won that competition. UofT's Blue Sky Solar Racing team finished fifth, completing the course in 46 hours and 19 minutes.

While no Canadian team finished in the top three in either competition, Waterloo's team didn't drive away empty-handed: they won the Safety Awareness Award. How wonderfully Canadian.