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Sonnenwagen News

About iLumen European Solar Challenge in Belgium

Other countries, other customs

13
May 2020

Our Team Sonnenwagen crossed the finish line in 6th place at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge last year despite a dramatic accident. This year the dedicated students want to reach the Top 3 in the iLumen European Solar Challenge (iESC) – a no less challenging 24-hour solar race in Belgium.

But do solar cars in Belgium even get enough sunlight to run and what else is the race about? Find out more here!

The challenge

The iESC takes place every two years on the former Formula 1 Circuit Zolder. The historic track is four kilometres long and offers numerous tough curves. During the race the teams are allowed to make a maximum of two stops to charge their cars. So, instead of racing through the Australian outback in the blazing sun for eight hours a day, the teams race 24 hours a day in Belgium – even at night and in the rain.

This changes the driving strategy: While in Down Under a long-term strategy for driving is essential, the conditions in Belgium result in a short-term strategy: What do you do in the next two hours? Do you have to change tyres when it rains? When does the driver have to be changed on the racetrack?

Two is better than one

Another difference: In Belgium, each team will start with two cars. However, each team will compete on its own and both cars will be judged separately. For this reason, the Sonnenwagen that crashed in the race last year is currently being revamped and made ready to compete. In addition, a completely new solar car is being built.

Despite the differences between the two races, one thing has remained the same: our friends from Team Sonnenwagen are going camping in Belgium, just like they did in the Australian outback. Because after all, hotels are for wimps.

What are the chances this year?

Our Sonnenwagen team has already taken part in the iESC once in 2018 and celebrated a great success with a 3rd place. But this year they want to top this result once again. Currently, the race is still scheduled to take place, however, things can change quickly amid the current Covid-19 pandemic. But we stay hopeful that the team can compete in September.

Stay tuned and stay curious! Follow Team Sonnenwagen on their 'Road to Belgium' here!