Gentlemen, Start Your Solar Panels

For all those out there who love motor sports, but feel guilty watching F1 and NASCAR because of the pollution and general waste of fuel and resources the sport entails, there is an alternative kicking off down under.

solar racer

Today in Darwin in northern Australia, 38 vehicles set out on a race to reach Adelaide in the south, an 1,864 mile journey. What’s the catch? All the vehicles are solar powered.

The race is the biennial World Solar Challenge, held every 2 years to showcase the best in solar powered racing, will take place during the day, natch, for the next 4 days. Since the cars can only run in the day, wherever the team finds themselves at 5 p.m. is where they’ll be camping for the night.

Drivers will face everything Australia’s roads can throw at them, from kangaroos and baking temperatures to the ever-present “road trains”, massive semi trucks hauling several trailers at once. They’ll reach top speeds of around 60 miles an hour, nothing compared to Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren, but impressive for a solar-powered car.

The drivers will hope to beat the course record, 29 hours and 11 minutes, set by the Nuon Solar team, thrice winners of the race.

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