“KANGAROO”, the test crew shouted from behind the solar car. On Tuesday October 6, we were testing our solar car ‘Red One’ on the Australian public road. Suddenly, a kangaroo jumped on the road from the roadside, exactly in front of the solar car. The kangaroo hit the bolide, slipped and ran away. The car was still driving on the road, but was quickly stopped to check whether the car and the driver were OK. The driver was scared, but unharmed. The solar car was undamaged.
Red One vs. Wallaby 1-0
Aside from the driver, the team members in the convoy cars were shocked. Driver Coen Hartjes: “I was shocked. I saw the kangaroo jump on the road. It all went very fast and I was not able to brake in that short period of time”. The solar car hit the tail of the kangaroo. After a quick check, Red One seemed undamaged. Team leader Irene van den Hof: “I could have ended wrong. I saw our dream become a nightmare. Fortunately, we use high-tech material from TenCate. This material has perfect properties: it’s light weighted, extremely strong and safe. This incident shows the importance of the latter property.
Kangaroos have a long, muscled tail. The tail hit the front right side of the solar car. The incident could have jeopardized Solar Team Twente’s participation in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. After an extensive check, it was concluded that the Red One was not damaged at all. The driver suggested to continue testing. The rest of the day we were able to perform some tests and prepare ourselves for the start of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge on October 18.