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Huge Solar Car Race Revs Up in Australia

October 26, 2009

A 1,860-mile solar car race in Australia started in the city of Darwin on Sunday, organizers announced.

The cars revved up at 8:30 am on a trip that will conclude mid-week in Adelaide.

“We had 32 vehicles start this morning,” said Mike Drewer, a spokesman for the World Solar Challenge, told AFP on Sunday. “The first away was Aurora 101 from Australia, having set the fastest speed time yesterday.”

The Nuna team came out as number one in 2007, 2005, 2003 and 2001, but was forced to rebuild its latest model after a recent accident.

The solar cars drive for nine hours daily, reaching specific cut-off times and making camp where they stop.

“We would expect the fastest vehicles are capable of doing, depending on weather conditions, about 800 kilometers (497.1 miles) per day,” Drewer said. “The fastest ones could be approaching Adelaide by Wednesday night, Thursday.”

Event director Chris Selwood finds that choosing a winner is simple.

“We won’t really see the technology and ingenuity until the cars are scrutinized in Darwin and a lot of things can happen on the journey south,” Selwood noted.

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