Sasol Solar Challenge kicks off at CSIR

September 27th, 2014, Published in Articles: Energize, Articles: EngineerIT, Articles: Vector


The Sasol Solar Challenge, a biennial solar car race taking place in South Africa, kicked off at 8h00 on 27 September 2014 at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria.

Competitors in the challenge harness sun power to race their solar-powered vehicles from Pretoria to Cape Town, via Port Elizabeth. Ten teams will be competing in this year’s race, including entrants from The Netherlands, Turkey, Cyprus, local universities teams, and local schools.

The current champions of the World Solar Challenge, Delft University’s Nuon team from The Netherlands will be racing the NUNA 7. The UJ Solar Team with their Ilanga II is the South African favourite for the race. (Read here in detail how Ilanga II works.)

[Credit: Sasol Solar Challenge]

The race ends in Cape Town on 4 October, after passing through Sasolburg, Kroonstad, Bloemfontein, Colesberg, Graaff-Reinet, Port Elizabeth, Knysna and Swellendam, a route that spans more than 2 000 km. Competitors will cover an average distance of 260 km a day, with some of the front-runners covering up to 6 000 km fuelled only by sunlight.

See the latest race highlights here.

The race is held in collaboration with Motorsport South Africa and the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), and demonstrates leading solar and related technology.

While other solar challenge events are staged in Australia, North America, Japan and India, the South African Solar Challenge is the only solar rally event endorsed by the FIA (the governing body for world motorsport), which stipulates the rules for the three different classes of cars taking part.

In addition, the event is also a platform for the promotion of STEM subject (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) amongst our young learners. It is accompanied by a schools engagement programme, which includes nearly 200 participating schools. The formal programme will run in conjunction with the Sasol Solar Challenge pit-stops.

Learners from schools along the route will receive an education kit that explains how solar-powered vehicles work, and materials that enable them to build and race their own model solar car.

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