Aussie Outback Solar Challenge
Outback Solar Challenge
Mark French - Owner Builder - White Suzuki
Mark was part of the 4WD industry for over 30years. Along with his wife Denny he founded Marks 4WD Adaptors,  a Company which designed and manufactured V8/V6 engine conversion kits, transmission products and electronics for the 4WD industry until the sale of the business in 2011. Mark's background is design engineering, electronics and mechanical engineering. Mark is also an active HAM Radio Licence Operator and holds the call sign VK3KMF. Mark built a solar powered radio repeater station at Aberfeldy Victoria in the late 1990's and has a strong interest in solar energy and electric vehicles. Mark also spent a brief time at Scott's Base in Antarctica modifying their land vehicles.

 Vehicle Specifications

Original Vehicle:                       1990 Suzuki Sierra 130cc Widetrack
Vehicle Rego:                           AJO-873
Engineered:                              Yes
Electric Motor:                          3 Phase 96V Brush-less DC, Rare Earth Permanent Magnet
Power Kw:                               20Kw continuous, 50Kw peak, maximum rpm 6000
Torque Nm:                              90nm continuous, 180nm peak  from 0 rpm                                                           
Motor Weight:                         39kg
Contoller:                                 Water cooled designed and built by Mark
Batteries:                                 Winston, 32 x Lithium Ion 3.2v 200ah, 8kg each
Battery Management System (BMS)
Solar Panels:                           JoPro 100w monocrystalline @ 20% e ciency, Semi flexible, can be bent up to 30%
                                                over the length 1040mm, 1.35kg ea, 1050 x 540 x 3mm       
Solar controllers:                     Ipanda 2 x MPPT controllers rated at 96v 30a 125v/300v @ 3500w
Min/Max PV Voltage:              125v/300v @ 3500w
Build:                                       The electric motor is coupled to the original Suzuki gearbox using an Exedy Clutch to   
                                                the original transfer case. ARB air locker. High Range ratio of 6.72:1 (5400rpm @ 

Solar Challenge
 Denny French - Co driver - Event Photographer
Denny along with Mark founded and operated Marks 4WD Adaptors until the sale of the business in 2011. Denny's background with the business was advertising, marketing, finance's and sales. Denny has also competed  in Car Rally's including Victorian Alpine Rally Championships,  motorkana club events at Winton Raceway, Phillip Island Raceway and Hill Climb events as both driver and navigator.  Denny is responsible for the Solar Challenge Facebook page and web site. She will be teaming up with Mark on the challenge as co driver and photography.

Solar Challenge
Alan Johnson - Owner Builder - Yellow Team
Alan is synonymous in the 4WD Industry. Alan and his wife Barbara own and operate Pirahna Off Road and have done so for the past 25 years. Alan is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Suzuki. Alan also own's and operates a successful business called Seriously Suzi which specialises in replacement parts for a range of Suzuki's. Alan has toured extensively with 4WD TV and is well known to many fans of the show. Alan has always held a strong interest in solar generated power.

Vehicle Specifications

Original Vehicle:                      1996 Suzuki Sierra 1300cc 
Vehicle Rego:                          1EW 9KM
Engineered:                             Yes
Electric Motor:                        Forklift truck motor 6kw continous
Power Kw:                               6kw
Weight:                                    93kg
Controller:                               ’Curtis’ with manual by-pass for motor power (in case of controller failure)
                                                 using copper coils & huge solenoids.
Batteries:                                12 x ‘Optima’ Yellow Top D31A spiral wound AGM,
                                                 75A/h at 27.3kg each, Plus, 1 x Optima Yellow top D34 spiral wound AGM, 55A/h
Solar Panels:                           Semi flexible 180W monocrystalline, 1300mm x 800mm. Total 20 panels with 3600W 
Solar Controller:                      TriStar 60amp, model TS-MPPT-60 by Morningstar USA
Min/Max PV voltage:               48V
Build:                                        The electric motor is coupled to the original transfer case (no clutch or gearbox, but                                                                          
                                                  giving 2WD High and 4wd Low capability) via a modified 'jack' shaft. The motor is
                                                 enclosed in a heavy gauge steel housing with a filtered air fan forced cooing system.
Solar Challenge
Barbara Johnson - Primary Support to Yellow Team
Barbara along with Alan own and operate Pirahna Off Road. Barbara's background is office administration and managerial roles. Barbara has travelled extensively with Alan and the 4WD TV crew filming sponsorship travel destinations all over Australia. She will be teaming up with Alan on the        challenge as primary support.

Solar Challenge
Peter Horan - Event Co Ordinator
Peter is the Solar Challenge Event Coordinator and is responsible for route plans, trip preparation and support crews coordination, especially ensuring that we meet the strict requirements of Guinness Book of Records. He has competed in several Dutton Rallies, a couple of Targa Tasmania's and quite a few hill climbs and motorkana's. Apart from driving some famous courses overseas (Nurburgring, Pikes Peak, Mille Miglia), Peter also drove his Lotus from the snow of the Swiss Alps to the snow of the Arctic. On the Solar Challenge Peter will also be support video for the film crew.

Solar Challenge
Karen Alderson - Log Book Monitor 
Karen is a Melbourne girl born and raised now living in the Victoria's High Country. She has travelled and worked both in Australia and overseas with husband Peter Horan. Karen's passions are music, food and travel, but it's her background in System Analysis that will help on the Solar Challenge. Karen is responsible for keeping a Guinness World Records Log Book recording dates/times/locations for all starts/stops during the challenge.

Aussie Outback Solar Challenge