Cambridge University Eco Racing, Britain's sole entrant into the World Solar Challenge, has officially unveiled its radical challenger for this year's competition.
Members of the CUER team launched the car at the Science Museum in London yesterday in preparation for October's 3000-kilometre (1860-mile) sun-fuelled race across the Australian outback from Darwin to Adelaide.
The design of the team's electric vehicle – named Resolution after the HMS Resolution, in which Captain Cook made his second voyage of exploration to the South Pacific – marks a major departure from previous WSC vehicles produced by the student team.
A rule change for this year's race stipulates that competing machines must have four wheels, whereas three-wheelers had been more popular and successful in the past. Other changes relate to driver positioning and visibility out of the vehicle.
Faced with these new challenges CUER devised the teardrop-shaped vehicle in preference to the flat, rectangular designs that have been more common in the past. Those shapes are designed to optimise the solar panels' ability to soak up the sun, but Resolution puts the emphasis on aerodynamics.