Sunday, 29 October 2023
Bridgestone World Solar Challenge Ceremony
Rod and I are very pleased to join you for the awards ceremony of the 2023 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.
It’s wonderful to see this event back in action after a four year break due to the pandemic.
Congratulations to every team represented here today for completing the 3000 kilometre journey from Darwin to Adelaide.
It’s impressive to see 38 teams from 22 different locations around the world, including for the first time Estonia and Romania, competing alongside Australian teams, including those from the University of Adelaide and Flinders University.
It’s an extraordinary feat you have accomplished, travelling through the beautiful and at times, harsh, remote Australian landscape in vehicles you designed, engineered and built with your own hands.
I imagine you might be feeling a mixture of tiredness, perhaps even exhaustion, as well as pride, perhaps even elation, in your achievement.
I hope that this experience has helped you to understand your own capacity to set ambitious goals for yourselves and reach them.
And, of course, it is also about outstanding teamwork; how to collaborate effectively, celebrate the good times and overcome challenges when the going gets tough.
As a former diplomat I see great benefit in bringing young people from around the world together in this way.
I hope through this experience you’ve had the opportunity to get to know your fellow racers and to forge connections and friendships, which I hope you will continue to keep up.
South Australia is the ideal location for the World Solar Challenge, given the synergies at play: our strength as a world leader in renewable energy, specifically solar and wind, as well as our focus on high-tech industries.
For more than 30 years, environmental sustainability and technological innovation have been at the heart of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.
As technologies have advanced over the years, decreasing the size of solar batteries and increasing their storage capacity, the allowable battery mass for racing vehicles has repeatedly been reduced.
This means that effective solar energy collection and use have remained key challenges of the event, driving competitors to develop innovative solutions to gain a competitive edge.
I thank the World Solar Challenge for challenging our young changemakers to test the limits of their creativity and skill, developing resilience for their future endeavours.
I was pleased to learn that, over the years, a number of alumni have progressed to employment with some of the world's leading engineering, automotive, and sustainable transport companies, including Tesla, SpaceX, NASA, Boeing, and Google.
I encourage all participants to consider a future career where they can pursue technological innovation, and meet the current challenges faced by our planet, particularly in relation to environmental sustainability.
I thank the World Solar Challenge Faculty, official partners and volunteers, as well as the South Australian Motor Sport Board, for your vital contributions to the event.
I also thank all of the supporters and teachers who have helped their teams to take part in this year’s Challenge.
I wish the World Solar Challenge every success as it begins work on the 2025 event, where I look forward to being joined by some of the world’s brightest and most daring young minds at the finish line, once again.