2020 Sasol Solar Challenge to include secret routes, shorter loops, new towns and sponsors
The 2020 Sasol Solar 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 Sasol Solar Challenge (SSC) will be held in September next year, 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.
The 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. Competitors in 2020 will have 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.
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.
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.