About Sunswift

Who we are

The UNSW solar racing team, Sunswift, is Australia's top solar car team. The team designs and builds solar-powered cars to race in the biennial Bridgestone World Solar Challenge – a 3,000km race from Darwin to Adelaide competing against universities from all around the world. Formed in 1996, the project is entirely student-run and not-for-profit. Since it’s formation, Sunswift has produced six solar cars and has established a stellar reputation for fast tracking careers, winning prizes and breaking world records.

Major goals and achievements 

  • 2019: Aiming to win the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2019!
  • 2018: Aiming to break the Australian Transcontinental Record, travelling from Perth to Sydney
  • 2017: 3rd in Practicality Judging of Cruiser Class in World Solar Challenge
  • 2016: Currently working on becoming the first internationally recognised road legal solar car.
  • 2015: Fourth place in the world solar challenge.
  • 2014: Broke the FIA world record for the fastest electric vehicle over a 500km distance.
  • 2007: Sunswisft has held the Transcontinental Record, travelling from Sydney to Perth purely on solar power since 2007.

Sunswift Violet's Reveal!

Information for Students

Who we are looking for

First and foremost, we are looking for enthusiasm and initiative. Sunswift consists of a variety of motivated students from various backgrounds and degrees such as mechanical, electrical, renewable energy and photovoltaics engineering, as well as computer science, commerce, arts and industrial design.


Why you should join

  • Sunswift is a powerful education symbol. Our outreach programs, which take us all over NSW, inspire the next generation of young engineers. Outreach events are great fun and they also greatly enhance your public speaking and communication skills. 
  • You’ll get the chance to compete in the World Solar Challenge against teams from all over the world, driving through the deserts of Australia in an all-expense-paid trip of a lifetime.
  • There are many challenges involved in building and racing solar cars, which require real-world problem solving skills and a strong work ethic. Sunswift teaches students to be self-reliant, self-motivated and confident in their abilities.
  • As world record breakers, our team is famous in Australia and has a strong international profile.
  • It’s great for expanding your CV. Sunswift experience is proven to vastly improve career opportunities.
  • Make life-long friends and join an incredible network of Sunswift alumni.
My Story - Matthew Holohan

My story

Project Manager Matthew Holohan, is in the last year of his Mechanical Engineering degree and can’t speak highly enough about his involvement with Sunswift:  

“I had never tinkered in a garage or built anything before, but I met people in my first year who had. They just seemed to look at things differently. They’d see a problem and go “Alright, let’s tackle it step by step, first let’s try this. Oh, it didn’t work? Let’s try something else. Oh, it did work. Great! What’s next…” I found this practical approach to problem solving really inspirational. I joined Sunswift to satisfy this new itch.

Sunswift is all about hands-on training, using tools and learning how to use materials. It’s one thing to design something on a computer, but it’s an entirely new challenge to actually build it. It’s really easy to design a hollow sphere, for example, but it’s almost impossible to build one. That realisation was a big one for me.

Sunswift works by breaking the whole project down into distinct areas and subassemblies. So, for example, we need to design a breaking system, a chassis, steering, front and back suspension, power etc. Then you break these components down further and suddenly you can assign someone an isolated component. I might say, “Try and build a steering rack. Here is your size, dimension and strength, now go”. By breaking it down and piecing it back together you can create a whole project that works. It’s amazingly satisfying."

Sunswift is all about hands-on training, using tools and learning how to use materials. It’s one thing to design something on a computer, but it’s an entirely new challenge to actually build it.”
Information for Sponsors

Can you help?

We are actively seeking sponsors to help us achieve our goals of training Australia’s top engineers, shaping the future of sustainable transport and inspiring the next generation of engineers still in school. Any support, whether it be in-kind materials or machinery, financial support or advice on our designs, is invaluable.

If you are interested in sponsoring Sunswift please contact Richard Hopkins:

What’s in it for you?

Partner with us and make great things happen:

  • Access to and engagement with USNW Engineering’s top students
  • Ability to trial students via UNSW Engineering’s Industrial Training Program
  • Networking opportunities with other industry partners, UNSW academic and research staff and UNSW’s top students
  • Advertise graduate positions directly to UNSW Engineering students
  • Media and branding opportunities
  • News items and photos for your internal communications promotion