In October Aurora joined 38 teams from 21 countries in the 2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge.
The Challenge saw the teams racing each other – using the power of the sun – on the 3,021km journey from Darwin to Adelaide.
Despite a budget just 5 – 10 per cent of the budget of the top teams, Aurora finished ahead of several prestigious institutions, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (USA), Stanford University (USA) and pre-challenge favourites Group T University (Belgium) sponsored by solar cell company Umicore.
Aurora entered the Challenge with their fourth generation car that was initially designed in 2006, built in early 2007 and entered in the 2007 and 2009 WSC Events. Originally named Aurora 101, the car was renamed Aurora Evolution in 2011.
The 2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge was a bittersweet one for the Aurora team. It was the first Challenge in over a decade that they were without David Fewchuk, their late team leader who passed away unexpectedly in 2010. Aurora team members dedicated their efforts to David's memory and their race team uniforms carried the simple message, "Thank you David".
Aurora successfully realised David’s vision to field their fourth generation car one last time in the 2011 WSC Event, not only that the Aurora Evolution finished second in the Production Class and seventh overall.
Fighting not just the teams around them, Aurora faced the extremes of Australian weather from bushfires to torrential rain and high winds. The team and their vehicle performed well to overcome whatever was thrown at them and were thrilled to be one of only few finishers of the 2011 Challenge. For many top teams the Challenge proved impossible and they were not able to complete the 3021km course.
As well as their performance on the road, Aurora once again distinguished itself as the friendliest and most approachable team in the Challenge. The team regularly provided support and assistance to other teams. This included providing extensive assistance and support to the Sikat Solar Car Team, from De La Salle University in the Philippines. The relationship between Aurora and the Philippines team dates back many years to when Aurora helped establish them in 2007.
As usual, the Aurora team were busy even when they were not on the road with team members and the Aurora Evolution receiving significant international, national, regional and local media coverage before and during the Challenge.
A highlight of the coverage the team received was on Channel 7's Sunrise, Australia's top morning program. there was a live crossover featuring an interview with Aurora team members. The team also featured with an extensive interview and on-track driving footage used by ABC in a current affairs program. In addition to this local TV coverage Aurora was featured in multiple newspaper articles before and during the Challenge and radio coverage. Aurora's finish in Adelaide was picked up by multiple national and local media outlets.
The team would like to take this opportunity to thank all their sponsors and supporters who have helped them get this far.