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Cambridge students' race to victory broadcast on Discovery Channel

Cambridge students' race to victory broadcast on Discovery Channel

The Cambridge University Eco Racing (CUER) team preparations ahead of a major solar endurance challenge across Australia were captured and broadcast by the Discovery Channel as part of a new series.

In the 2015 Challenge, we got to the finish line with just 10 minutes to go before the competition closed for the day. We’d been on the road for five days at this point. This year, we’re aiming to be the most successful British team ever. We want to beat all the British records.”

Aurelia Hibbert, 2015 CUER team leader

Every two years, CUER competes in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge – the foremost solar racing competition in the world – using a vehicle they have engineered and built themselves, negotiating a 3,000km route along tricky terrain from Darwin to Adelaide.

The team has been developing a unique vehicle concept since 2012 and in 2015, became the most successful UK entrant in the Challenge since 2007.

The Discovery Channel accompanied the team in the run up to and during the 2015 Challenge, filming them over a period of nine months, and documenting it all for a new series Meet the Superbrains which was broadcast earlier this month.

The episode captured the team building their vehicle at their Cambridge-based workshop; at a dinner ahead of their trip to Australia where they viewed coverage from when their vehicle crashed in the 2013 Challenge; making final preparations for testing in Australia before the Challenge; and highlighting some of the issues the team had to overcome during the Challenge itself, including an overheating battery which had to be covered in dry ice.

Aurelia Hibbert, 2015 CUER team leader, said the team, which spent five weeks in training ahead of the 2015 Challenge, were delighted to feature as part of the programme.

“Being part of Meet the Superbrains was really good for us and fits our team mission which is to inspire as well as to innovate,” she said. “It did create a pulling together of the team because we all wanted to make sure that we were doing ourselves and CUER justice, and the programme allowed us to give viewers a bit of a taste of what we’re up against during the competition.

“We raced with 16 people, but 32 of us went out to Australia. The maximum number of drivers you can take are four and the idea is that you change driver every three to four hours. You also have to be 5ft 6 or under to fit inside the car.

“In the 2015 Challenge, we got to the finish line with just 10 minutes to go before the competition closed for the day. We’d been on the road for five days at this point. This year, we’re aiming to be the most successful British team ever. We want to beat all the British records.”

Sponsorship

As the CUER team gear up for this year’s World Solar Challenge in October, they are on the lookout for supporters who may wish to sponsor anything from 1 to 1,000 kilometres of their journey.

The funds raised through this initiative will be used towards the final preparations of the vehicle and the logistics costs of the journey, including items from vehicle hire all the way through to nutrition for those who end up driving the solar vehicle itself.

The latest to get on board with CUER are international companies Qoros and Mazak, both of which are leaders in the automotive and manufacturing industries.

Aurelia added: “Recruitment to CUER is a self-selection process, but we’re always looking for people that are proactive and passionate, which is just as important as having skills such as engineering, although we have members which include architects, economists, mathematicians and those studying natural sciences.”

To find out more about the team and how sponsorship works, email sponsorship@cuer.co.uk.

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