DUEM-Bridgestone World Solar Challenge

Chasing the sun, Darwin to Adelaide

  • £2,505

    pledged of £10,000

    • 28


    • 0


This project received pledges on Sat 31 Aug 2019

The Race

We are a team of students that design, build and race solar powered electric vehicles. As one of two teams in the UK, Durham University Electric Motorsport (DUEM) compete against like-minded student engineers from across the globe in the ultimate endurance test: the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Held biennially in Australia (where the sun always shines!), the event is a simple; can you get from Darwin in the North to Adelaide in the South, a distance of over 3000km, using only sunshine? The race is contested by nearly 50 teams of bright young engineers from around the world, and DUEM compete in the most prestigious Challenger Class; single seat racing cars designed to complete the distance as quickly as possible.

Make no mistake, it's called a Challenge for a reason. Along the way things will go wrong, and when they do, it's up to us to fix them at the side of the road in 40 degree heat using only those tools we can carry with us! The event has not been kind to British teams in recent times, a combination of intense heat and lack of equipment making repairs difficult. In fact, of the 36 starters in the 2017 Challenger Class field, only 12 completed the full 3000km. This year we are aiming to fly the flag in the 2019 BWSC and become the first UK team in a generation to finish!

Every team who competes brings something different to the table, all designed and constructed by students aiming to win, and Durham University Electric Motorsports are proud to be amongst their numbers! 

The car

DUEM is proud to announce its latest entry to the 2019 BWSC: ORTUS. Our brand new 2019 Challenger has been in the works for more than 18 months, and we're very excited to show the world what we've been up to. ORTUS, or 'sunrise' in Latin represents a huge step forward for DUEM; 30% lighter and with 25% less aerodynamic drag than its predecessor, it will travel at highway speeds while using less power than an everyday kettle. Very soon ORTUS will be making its first drive ahead of a rigorous testing campaign, to make sure that we're prepared for the harshness of the Outback.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our team members, ORTUS is shaping up to be our most competitive entry yet!

The team

DUEM is entirely led by Durham University students who dedicate their free time to building the best car possible. Led by James Marriott, the Team Principal (a Collingwood finalist), we also have three other members of The Wood in our line up. Emily Pearson and Jack Hillier in their second year are on the Mechanical Team, making sure  the car runs safely and quickly. We've also got Morgan Boswell, in his first year, on the Logistics Team. As you can imagine, getting a team and car to the other side of the world and back is no mean feat!

Our team principal, James Marriott, hard at work on the 2017 car (above)

Alongside the Collingwood members, the team is made up of 11 dedicated students from other colleges and our academic advisor Prof David Sims-Williams.

The rest of the team:

Isaac Rudden (Hatfield), Liam Bushrod (Mildert), Ellie Desmond (John's), Robert Bird (Ustinov), Joe Papworth (Castle), Katie Skinner (Trevs), Roy Bullock (Cuth's), Rachel Burstow (Mary's), Hugh Thomas (Mary's), Owen Foo (Hatfield), Tom Redfern (Chad's) 

Thanks to this superb team and the other members of the society,  which is packed with members specialising in many fields: engineering, business and logistics to name a few, we have been able to design, fund and build ORTUS and not to mention ship it to Australia!

why fund us?

The World Solar Challenge helps to foster new and exciting ideas in the area of renewable energy based transportation. The ideas used to make the vehicles faster and more efficient growth in this area of technology, and we hope our ultra-high efficiency and ultra-low power racing car, we can do our bit to speed up the adoption of e-mobility in the future. Additionally, it inspires students to think more about green technology, as well as challenging them to think of innovative solutions to problems. and provide a gateway for them to enter a field that is becoming essential in our every changing world. By funding DUEM, you can help ensure that as many as possible to benefit from this fantastic opportunity and provide a gateway for students to enter a field that is becoming essential in our every changing world. Indeed DUEM is so recognised in what we do (thanks to our long history with the BWSC), that we were even invited to attend the UN climate change conference held in Morocco back in 2016, giving team members the chance to meet influential figures related to climate change and sustainable technolgy. 

DUEM attending COP 22, Marrakesh, Morocco 

DUEM aims to inspire. We run outreach programs in the local community hoping to show students the benefits of a STEM career. A big part of this is talking about our experiences working on the solar car, and racing in Australia is a fantastic thing to help teach children about working in STEM, and the importance of sustainable technology. If you're interested in our outreach programs, check out our website by following the link at the bottom of the page.

Our Head of Logistics (and veteran member) Ellie Desmond at her TED talk, held at Sevenoaks School

Where would your donation go?

Don't worry, we aren't asking you to fund the car's construction. Instead we plan on using the funds raised to help pay for transport and accommodation for our team. Specifically your help will ensure that we can pay for flights to and from Australia, and assist in paying for the team's accommodation during our setup and shutdown periods. It costs around £1500 for food, travel and accommodation for each member of the team, and any assistance towards that cost would be greatly appreciated. Being one of the lowest funded teams in the competition, any money we have raised (with no small amount of credit going to the Engineering department) has gone towards building ORTUS, meaning the society isn't able to offset these costs ourselves.

We have a great car to contest the challenge, but without extra support, we can't guarantee that every team member will be able to attend. With your help we aim to raise £10,000, or roughly £625 per person to ensure everyone has the means to go on this life changing adventure, however raising just £800 would put £50 towards sending each member to the World Solar Challenge. As a stretch goal, we would love to be able to cover the total amount for all 16 team members, a total amounting £24,000.


We have several awesome rewards available to our donators, including the opportunity to get your name on the car!


This video shows some of the highlights from the race in 2017, and we aim to do even better this year.

Find us here

If you're interested in what we do and want to know more, visit our website at:


Or you can check out our facebook page to see what we've been up to:


We're also on twitter at:


Lookout out for #BWSC19

Help us succeed!

You don't need to donate to help us succeed, awareness is just as important. Be it on social media or in person, discussing DUEM and the World Solar challenge is a great way to raise awareness about not only our team, but the entire event and its importance.