Sasol officially opened the 2020 Sasol Solar Challenge for entries. The challenge has some exciting changes for participants who can look forward to a new route and changes in format.
With a renewed title sponsor, the seventh Sasol Solar Challenge (SSC) will be held in September 2020, once again challenging top young engineers from across the world to drive their fuel-less, cutting-edge cars across 2,500 km of South Africa’s public roads.
For the first time in eight years the SSC will pass through the Northern Cape; in addition Bothaville, Kimberley, Bloemhof, Uitenhage, Kirkwood, Plettenberg Bay and Franschhoek have been added to the route for the first time.
Competitors in 2020 will have to think fast on ‘blind’ days, when information regarding the route is withheld until the night before, forcing teams to strategize on the go.
Experienced teams usually travel the route several times in advance to prepare for all challenges, but will now need to plan for the element of surprise. The loops en route, which allow teams to rack up distance and get a lead on competitors, will also be much shorter in 2020.
Spectators will have better opportunities to see the carefully co-ordinated, Formula 1-style pit stops in action, and the less experienced teams will have more time to troubleshoot as they stop in with their support team more often.
Teams from across the globe develop pioneering technology for solar racing events. The Sasol Solar Challenge, held every second year since 2008, is a popular testing ground for the world’s leading teams to push new equipment to the limit.
Seven South African teams have entered so far, including first-time participants the Mpumalanga SolaFlairs and the University of the Free State, and returning teams from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Central University of Technology in the Free State, North West University, TUT, and the University of Johannesburg. South Africa will also host newcomers Team Solaris from Turkey and the Alfaisal Boeing Solar Car Project team from Saudi Arabia. With registration only recently opening, more teams are expected within the coming months.