Race postponed until 2021

2020-05-20 06:01
The Sasol Solar Challenge has been postponed to 2021. Here is one of the cars participating in a previous edition of the race. Insert: Robert Walker, director and owner of the Sasol Solar Challenge.Photo: Facebook, Sasol Solar Challenge

The Sasol Solar Challenge has been postponed to 2021. Here is one of the cars participating in a previous edition of the race. Insert: Robert Walker, director and owner of the Sasol Solar Challenge.Photo: Facebook, Sasol Solar Challenge

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The Sasol Solar Challenge (SSC) organising body announced on Wednesday, 29 April, that its 2020 edition has been postponed until early 2021.

“This postponement is a natural consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic which has seen even major world sporting competitions planned for this year also postponed to 2021. It is clear that restrictions on movement will remain in some form until the end of 2020, and the SSC and its sponsors continue to support government efforts and regulations to mitigate the impact of the disease,” said Robert Walker, director and owner of the SSC.

He said the race is provisionally scheduled to take place from 19 to 26 February 2021 instead of September as initially planned.

He added that the participating teams will be able to register until the end of November.

Walker said that a new date for the South African launch and local testing event originally scheduled for June will depend on guidance of the government, and will be announced once confirmed.

“We also recognised that the SSC requires extensive technology development, production and research, not to mention logistics preparation from more than a dozen teams around the world. The event will therefore not take place this year, regardless of South Africa’s lockdown status,” he said.

The previous event was held in 2018 and was won by the Nuon Solar Team, called Vattenfall Solar) from the Netherlands.

The unique race, promo­ting renewal energy, has been going on since 2008. This year would have been the eighth edition of the race.

According to Walker, the global solar challenge community has shown immense resilience during an unprecedented crisis.

“Teams are supporting each other remotely, innovative virtual design processes created to work on cars, and funders continuing to support projects. We are postponing the 2020 Sasol Solar Challenge out of concern for the well-being of participants and spectators, and in recognition of the challenges faced by teams around the world in working on their solar cars,” said Walker.

“We strongly believe that through continued collaboration, communication and support we can retain the enthusiasm and spirit that makes this such a unique event, and are committed to maintaining our momentum until we are once again able to welcome all participants to South African roads,” he said.

The University of the Free State (UFS) was expected to make its debut in this year’s Sasol Solar Challenge. The university will be unveiling its own-designed car named after the fastest animal on land, the Cheetah, meaning Lengau in Sotho. For the challenge, team UFS is in the process of building a self-propelled manned vehicle that uses solar power systems to travel from point A to point B.

  • Patrons can follow the Sasol Solar Challenge (SSC) on social media for updates on ongoing preparations, and other news.
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