Carrera Solar Atacama?

Solar Team Eindhoven

Yes please! Ok, I do have a problem. That’s the first step, admit you have problem, then you can start looking for a cure? My problem is that if I were to start all over again, get an opportunity to re-live my life, I would make some very different choices.

To start with I would undoubtably make it my business to stick my nose into anything involving solar racing. At the tender age of seventeen, had I known what might be waiting for me if I had gone to school and become a vehicle engineer specializing in solar propulsion I’m certain I would be living a much different life today. I feel I had a failure of imagination when I was a kid, I was bought and sold on the idea that I wanted to fly fighter aircraft. Guess Top Gun and The Last Starfighter ceased my attention more completely than I’d like to admit.

This summer I watched competitors from the World Solar Challenge fly across the Australian desert between Darwin and Adelaide. The whole time I was imagined a single stage solar race where the competitors did not have long lines of support vehicles trailing off behind them. Endurance style for thousands of kilometers through challenging terrain.

This afternoon, while browsing a feed about the American Solar Challenge (a staged, track race), I noticed a link to the Carrera Solar Atacama later this year in November. Clicking through I encountered their vehicle class listing and … joy! … look at this.

This class, unique in the world of solar racing, comprehends hybrid EVs which are propelled both by solar energy and human traction. It aims to develop low cost environmentally friendly vehicles, extending in this way the entry to Carrera Solar Atacama for teams with limited financing possibilities.

Imagine racing alone, thousands of kilometers, up and down mountain ranges, across dry deserts, through arching halls of trees, ocean to ocean. I love the older tech, slower teams and classes because they require the racer to think on his feet. Use his knowledge and a little forethought to stay in the race. Now, for Atacama, add his or her legs to the mix. So freaking awesome!

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