Suzuka Dream Cup 2010 - By The Numbers

92, 19, 7x2, 5x2, 3x2, 82, 101, 10/tenths

The famous Aurora 101 solar car has been on a holiday in Rio de Janeiro and has enjoyed a 40 day voyage direct to Nagoya, Japan to run the in the superb solar car "Dream Cup' at the International Race Circuit, Suzuka.

Aurora in Rio Bibendum Challenge

Well OK, being stuffed into a humid and rocking sea freight container might not be fun but testing on the famous race track certainly is. Aurora 101 departed Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 12 June and landed at Nagoya, Japan, 40 day later on 21 July. Thank you to Yusen, our carrier, for this 'just in time' delivery.

The 2010 Suzuka ‘Dream Cup’ will be its nineteenth and last occasion since it was run for the first time in 1992. It has undoubtedly been the best of solar car races in Japan and has bred some famous solar car teams such as Kanazawa, KIT, Honda, Tokai, OSU and TIGA. This is the showdown to determine which team is the best.

Only this year the dark horse is the powerful and sleek solar car from the Netherlands, Nuna 5. It is sporting a new sponsor and is ready to test itself on the curves and hills of this demanding track. And just if anything goes wrong with the three ‘space celled super solar car entrants’, the slippery and lightweight Aurora 101 from Melbourne Australia might just be a contender. But on far less power as Aurora uses commonly available silicon solar cells. Maybe it will rain!


Nuna5 Aurora

Aurora competed in the 1992 race with its heroic ‘Christine’ solar car. It finished in eighth place achieving a total distance of 61 laps. The Honda entry covered 96 laps in winning that inaugural race led by solar car hero Iwata. But the one entry that captured the most attention that year was the Doraemon Solar Car, looking like a very happy cat and named after a famous TV character which first hit the TV screens in 1979. This character is known even today and is loved by children throughout Asia. In honour of this fame the Doraemon Solar Car made by Simon is demonstrated at Suzuka every year.

Doraemon Car

On this occasion, the seven man Aurora team will be contesting its seventh Suzuka Dream Cup. It has two fifth and 2 third place finishes on its record and quite a collection of broken wheels, a broken hatch, several spins and an electrical fire to reflect on. Lead Aurora driver Derrick Rodgers from country Victoria is fast and knows the track. This will be his fifth appearance. He is backed by Andris Samsons who is Aurora’s leading long distance driver. Aurora’s best distance at Suzuka has been 101 laps compared to the best ever achieved by TIGA at 106 laps. It all depends on the weather.

Derrick Andris

A huge entry list is coming to the town of Suzuka, altogether 82 solar car teams. The names are bewildering but the smaller class is appropriately named the ‘Enjoy Class’ That’s what the ‘Dream Cup is about.

But at the front of the field there will be a tense fight between TIGA and OSU, a surprise challenge from Nuna5, and Aurora 101 will be at 10/tenths, giving the race its all. If we have time we plan to thank Fuyuko Ozawa for getting us to Suzuka, to catch up with Mr Iwata, to see the Doraemon solar car and to meet our many Japanese friends involved in solar car racing. Being an underdog at Suzuka isn’t so bad!

Look out for our daily reports starting Monday 26 July.

Fuyoko Ozawa Mr Iwata