By Josiah Zintsmaster
The “Challenger Class” is the most challenging race for solar-powered vehicles. Last fall, “Sonnenwagen,” a team from RWTH Aachen University, was the only team to represent Germany in the race. Porsche stepped in to assist the futuristic project both financially and with their expertise in design. Porsche leads their industry and is a valuable asset to the team of solar engineers. Andreas Haffner, Member of the Executive Board for Human Resources and Social Affairs at Porsche AG gave a statement: “The sustainable use of renewable energies is one of the greatest challenges of our time. The development of an emission-free solar-powered racing car by students at RWTH Aachen alone represents a bold undertaking. Supporting this research approach is very important to us.”
The final design of the futuristic vehicle was on display for three days in the Nürburgring Boulevard before heading off to the races. Located in Australia, October 8th to 15th the 30th “Bridgestone World Solar Challenge” race took place. Stretching over 3,022 kilometers, the race went from Darwin to Adelaide – weaving along the Stuart Highway and through the Australian Outback.
Finding a way for Porsche and the “Sonnenwagen” team from RWTH Aachen to work together was extremely important to both parties. Andreas Haffner went on to say, “We want to play an active role in shaping the future of the sports car. To do so, we need exactly this kind of young people, full of courage and pioneering spirit, and who are willing to break the mould. These are values that are also firmly rooted in our company culture.”
The team’s first few visits with Porsche’s experts were very knowledge for the students. Their first visit to the Porsche motorsport center in Flacht led to half a day of shared knowledge from the three-time winning team, La Mans. They focused on improving and technique used in designing vehicle body, electrics, simulation, wind tunnel tests, organizing air freight, and even team management. The student's second visit was to the FIA World Endurance Championship race at Spa in Belgium. Through this visit the “Sonnenwagen” team learned about professional weather observation and race strategy. Which are two key components to racing – especially when solar power will be their only energy source.
Porsche shows their support for research in many ways. The continued support to the “Sonnenwagen” project is one of the ways Porsche has proved this commitment. For more information on the solar-powered car’s progress and development check out the team’s Facebook page by clicking here. You can also visit the official homepage of the World Solar Challenge here.
Date Posted: March 27, 2018