READY TO RACE: 14 teams will take part in the 2014 Sasol Solar Challenge from September 27 to October 4. Image: Maragon Private School
PRETORIA, Gauteng - The countdown to the start of the Sasol Solar Challenge has begun, and event which claims to be ranked as one of the top global events of its kind.
The challenge involves an eight-day country-wide endurance challenge to demonstrate the sophistication and performance of solar-powered vehicles.
It's run every two years under the auspices of Motorsport SA and the International Automobile Federation as a collaborative initiative of university students, lecturers, scholars, private individuals and various industry and state partners.
The challenge will start on September 27 in Pretoria and finishing on October 4 in Cape Town and include 14 local and international teams, six of them from local universities, two of them from schools.
Months of hard work will have been spent on creating innovative designs and engineering systems with the goal of running a solar-powered vehicle across some of the most gruelling terrain in South Africa.
Average time and distance, average energy consumption and average battery use. will determine the winners in various categories.
Challenge director Winstone Jordaan explained: “We've taken a different approach to the route for the 2014 challenge. Participants will have the option of determining their daily distance by completing driving loops varying from 58 to 132km."
A schools engagement programme will follow the route, the organisers said, to encourage the development of much-needed science, technology, engineering and maths skills. The formal programme, involving 200 schools along the route, will run in conjunction with the challenge pit-stops.
The education programme material consists of a kit to explain how solar-powered vehicles work and material to enable pupils to build their own model solar car which will race against those of other schools.
You can follow the Sasol Solar Challenge on Twitter @Solar_Challenge, like it on Facebook and visit the website.