Passion for Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (BWSC)

Involvement in BWSC


John Story

Member of Scientific Faculty

What is the role of Scientific Faculty...

The idea of this race was initially announced back in 1985 by Hans Tholstrup, who was an adventurer, having no scientific background. Then, the Scientific Faculty was formed about 8 years ago by Chris Selwood to create the event regulations. He called many people with different areas of expertise and skill. The faculty members meet approximately 3 times a year for 2 years to discuss and establish the best regulations for next race. No single person can imagine what the new regulations or the race would be like, so the collective thoughts of the larger community is key.

What is the philosophy behind the regulations...

The philosophy is that the students and young engineers are much cleverer, and have much more imagination. So we try to create rules that give them much flexibility. If there are certain regulations that limit the possibility of design in a certain direction, we try to change it. We also don't tell people how to design a car. We tell them what the end result has to be; a car that is safe and will go as fast as it can. This makes us different from other races. We are really trying to stimulate innovation. Every time we put out a new set of rules we are surprised by the results, because teams come up with solutions we never thought of. Therefore we want less rules, but we don't want people to sacrifice safety in order to win in the race. Teams should not gain an advantage by compromising safety.

What keeps you involved in the BWSC for so long...

It's the people. Talking with the students, the engineers, the designers, the other people in the organization of the event - everyone has so much optimism for the future. The excitement of the new ideas and the new technologies are just very stimulating. It keeps me young.

What does "Dream bigger. Go farther." mean to you...

Quite often people are too timid. They don't let their imaginations go far enough, because they're not so confident. But if we kept doing the same things, there would be no progress. It's the dreams that are important.