2020 Solar challenge heads to Uitenhage

2019-10-03 06:00
The Tshwane University of Technology’s (TUT) car, Sun Chaser 3, topped the South African leader board with 2 397km in 2018. The team is one of the nine already signed up for the 2020 event. Their new cutting-edge car, Sun Chaser 4, is 25% more aerodynamic and the team hopes to make it 20kg lighter too.                                           Photo:SUPPLIED

The Tshwane University of Technology’s (TUT) car, Sun Chaser 3, topped the South African leader board with 2 397km in 2018. The team is one of the nine already signed up for the 2020 event. Their new cutting-edge car, Sun Chaser 4, is 25% more aerodynamic and the team hopes to make it 20kg lighter too. Photo:SUPPLIED

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THE fuel-less, cutting-edge cars participating in the 2020 Sasol Solar Challenge (SSC) will, on their 2 500km route through South Africa, pass through Kirkwood as well as Uitenhage.

The challenge is officially open for entries and boasts exciting changes. Participants can look forward to a new route, changes in format, and a renewed title sponsor. Nine participants are already confirmed.

The seventh SSC will be held in September next year, once again challenging top young engineers from across the world to think on their feet on ‘blind’ days, when information regarding the route is withheld until the night before, forcing teams to strategise on the go.

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.

Widely regarded as the most difficult of more than a dozen such events globally, the baking sun, violent storms, high winds, changing road surfaces and a record drop in altitude of nearly 2 000 m along the SA route allow teams to gather invaluable data.

The 2020 SSC passes through the Northern Cape for the first time in eight years, and Bothaville, Kimberley, Bloemhof, Uitenhage, Kirkwood, Plettenberg Bay and Franschhoek have been added to the route for the first time.

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.

Sasol is the title sponsor for the fourth year running, demonstrating its commitment to furthering science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education and inspiring learners to pursue technical careers.

For more information visit the Sasol Solar Challenge website: www.solarchallenge.org.za

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