Ardingly College and Ifield Community College's solar car has successfully completed the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. In a fantastic achievement, the car completed half of the 3000km course under solar power alone.
Tom Lewis, a student, gave praise to the team at Ardingly College who made it happen: “We have the most amazing STEM team at our school, and this project, spearheaded by Dr Spiers is truly unique. The time, effort, and enthusiasm of everyone involved has been remarkable.”
The race was a huge success for our partnership team of Ardingly College and Ifield Community College, as we completed a greater distance than both Cambridge and Stanford universities. The two schools, one from the independent sector and the other the state sector, developed a wonderfully strong bond that benefitted all involved. Due to his work with Ardingly Solar, Callum Porter, a pupil from Ifield Community College, went on to acquire an apprenticeship with Thales. He commented: “Who would have thought I would drive down the Stuart High Way from Darwin to Adelaide in a car I helped to build?”
Thomas Dowell, a student at Ardingly College, said: "The Australian Solar race was the most remarkable experience as it was the culmination of four years hard work designing, building, testing and improving our solar car. We encountered large 130 tonne road trains in blistering 40 degree heat but we made it, crossing the line ahead of well renowned universities such as Cambridge and Stanford. The best moment for me was crossing the finish line in Adelaide, a fantastic moment for myself and the whole team."
William Price, another student at Ardingly College, commented: “This once-in-a-lifetime experience has been incredible. The camaraderie between all the teams taking part was truly unique and we built great relationships with other teams as we came across them. The experience of setting up camp, in the middle of the outback, with just the team, the car and the stars was exhilarating. As you’d imagine, crossing the finish line was an incredible culmination of the trip.”
Out of 52 entrants, 49 started and only 31 finished. The Bridgestone Solar Race truly is a phenomenal challenge, traversing across Australia from Darwin to Adelaide, dealing with temperatures of +42C and with all the adverse conditions of the outback: high cross winds; small tornadoes; sandstorms and the fearsome road trains. The car was driven by 11 students from both Ardingly and Ifield, and was supported by 11 volunteers. Not only did the car race all the way across Australia but finished second in its category.