In the weeks leading up to the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Car Challenge, we will be doing blog features of the MTAA Super Sol Invictus team members. This week’s feature is John Oost. John grew up in Cooma, riding horses with his brother and sister. After high school, he was courageous enough to join the Navy as a trainee marine engineer. Six months into the program, he realised it wasn’t right for him, so he made the bold decision to move to Canberra to study Engineering at ANU. One fateful afternoon, John actually paid attention to one of the posters on the walls of the Engineering building. It was a call for students to join the Solar Car Project. He remembered his school friends mentioning the project and so he decided to apply to be in the Technical Team. John was only in his second year at the time but he was interested in automotives and wanted some hands-on experience. He was grateful to be initially selected in the Chassis team. Since then, his role has evolved over time and his official title is now ‘Team Superstar’. John does everything and goes above and beyond to help others, whether it be with race logistics, brake fitting or solar cell production.

John recounted the day he spent in Adelaide making solar cells. He flew out of Canberra at 6am and arrived in Adelaide at 9am for a one-day workshop with Tindo Solar, one of our sponsors. Tindo Solar will be generously providing the MTAA Super Sol Invictus Team with solar cells for the car. John and Tom, also in the technical team, were lucky enough to be invited to their factory to make test cells from scratch. He explained how he assembled the solar cells and encapsulated the cells with the facilities at Tindo Solar. According to John, these solar cells are very efficient. John says the Adelaide trip has been his favourite part of the project so far. He is excited to go back for a 3-day workshop next week, where he will be assembling and encapsulating the final solar array for the car.

John gave us an insight into the training that the race drivers have had leading up to the race. They will be driving during the hottest parts of the day and along long straight roads, so physical and mental training is really important. All the drivers are undertaking regular personal training sessions in the ANU Sport Gym to improve their cardio fitness, which will help them cope with the heat. During one PT session, they took cognitive tests to test their concentration during physical exhaustion. John says the ANU students are at a bit of a disadvantage because the Canberra winter has not helped with the acclimitisation.

We are all looking forward to the vehicle launch on September 19th Stay tuned for more blog posts…