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Vattenfall solar team breaks solar racing world record

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Vattenfall solar team has set a new solar racing world endurance record in the Netherlands. The Nuna Phoenix solar car traveled more than 924 kilometers entirely powered by solar power over 12 hours.

This year, because of the coronavirus, inclusion in an international solar race is impossible. Therefore, in an effort to set a new world endurance record, the Vattenfall solar team took their self-built Nuna Phoenix solar car to the RDW (Department of Road Transport) test track in Lelystad, the Netherlands.

One unique aspect of the record attempt was that it was this year’s first time the Nuna would be seen in action.

To break the world endurance record held by the Nuna 8s since 2017, the Nuna Phoenix would have to travel at least 882 kilometers in 12 hours – more than 300 rounds. In the end, the solar car ran 328 rounds.

“The heat made the asphalt a lot softer. In the curves the tar strips were like sticky liquorice.”

Mees van Vliet, drove the car over the finish line.

The team is used to the heat of Australia, but the unusually high temperatures in the Netherlands really put the team on its mettle. 

During the day four drivers took turns, each for a three hour stint. The other team members sprayed water on the solar panels as the drivers switched positions to try to cool them down.

“The cabin is not comfortable, as  temperatures can rise to about 50 degrees Celsius.”

Mees van Vliet, driver.

At 7 p.m. the Nuna Phoenix whooshed over the finish line of the RWD site in Lelystad.

“We’ve done it, this is really great! A new world endurance record, when just a few weeks ago we didn’t know if the car would ever race. We really pulled it off, and I’m proud of our team.”

Niek Hogenboom, team captain.
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