European Solar Challenge: Further Analysis

I updated my previous post to include visualisations of the official results of the iLumen European Solar Challenge. However, a helpful commenter shared a link to the detailed lap data, so above and below is some further analysis on lap times. Colours are the same as in the previous charts. As always, click to zoom.

The chart at the top shows pit time (including recharging time) as almost-horizontal lines, and pit time is also visible as gaps in the chart below. The histograms show that Top Dutch (6), the two cars from Sonnenwagen Aachen (7 and 70), Istanbul Technical University (34), and the experienced drivers in BOSolarCar e.V. (11) were particularly good at driving consistent lap times.

Measured by median lap times, Stella Vita from Eindhoven (41), Covestro Photon from Aachen (7), SunRiser from Bochum (11), RED E from Twente (42), and BluePoint from Agoria (8) were the fastest cars.

European Solar Challenge: Results (2)

This will be the second of two posts on the results of the just-completed iLumen European Solar Challenge (iESC), following on from this post.

To begin with, consider this chart of lap counts over time (using the same colours as the previous charts). Problems, recharges, and even (if you look closely) driver changes are clearly visible (click to zoom). The dotted red line shows the champion performance of Solar Team Twente in 2016, surpassed by 5 cars this year. The dotted blue line shows the fastest Cruiser, Bochum’s 2013 PowerCore SunCruiser, in that same race (bear in mind, though, that it drove with no passengers, while this year both Stella Era and Stella Vie ran with 3 passengers each!). Particularly notable is the Belgian decision to allow BluePoint only one recharge stop (the sunny weather and the superb efficiency of the car made that feasible).

This chart shows the calculation of the final scores, incorporating points for most laps, for dynamic parcour timing, and for fastest lap. The left-hand coloured bars (total scores) are each the sum of the other bars of the same colour. So Agoria 1st, Twente 2nd, and Top Dutch 3rd:

Scoring in the Cruiser class was simplified to be based on laps, but with bonus laps for the dynamic parcour timing and fastest lap won by Stella Vie. Nevertheless, Stella Era still won: Eindhoven 1st and 2nd. I won’t include a chart for that.

European Solar Challenge: Results (1)

This will be the first of two posts on the results of the just-completed iLumen European Solar Challenge (iESC). If anyone doubted that BluePoint is the fastest solar car in the world, Agoria Solar Team from Belgium proved them wrong. In 24 hours, they drove almost the distance from Darwin to Alice Springs on the very challenging Zolder track (click the image to zoom):

All five of the top cars broke the record set by Solar Team Twente in the 2016 race.

After some battles for the fastest-lap title, Top Dutch won that, reprising their performance in the 2019 World Solar challenge qualifier (the Covestro Sonnenwagen from Sonnenwagen Aachen came second, and Stella Vie from Solar Team Eindhoven third):

I also looked at lap time distributions (I have re-done this analysis since I posted on social media, using the official laptimes rather than my sample). The data includes time spent in the pits, so I drew an arbitrary cutoff at 600 seconds (10 minutes) for a lap. The histogram below shows these lap time distributions. Note the very consistent driving speed of the two Belgian subteams, driving BluePoint and Punch 2. Equally consistent was RED Shift, driven by experienced alumni of Solar Team Twente:

The chart below shows the same data temporally (with an 8-minute cutoff this time). The two fast laps by Top Dutch can be seen, as can the fast lap by the Covestro Sonnenwagen. Car problems show up clearly in this view, as does the consistent driving of the Belgians:

European Solar Challenge: Dynamic Parcour

The iLumen European Solar Challenge (iESC) is ongoing. All cars have passed scrutineering, either yesterday or this morning, and all but SER got some test laps in this morning as well.

Today (Friday) saw the rather nail-biting “dynamic parcour,” which counts for 22.2% of the final score (and which at times came down to milliseconds!). Results are shown above (stars mark Cruiser-class cars), and some snapshots below (click to zoom). Well done, Green Lightning!

Credits: 1. RED Shift shows how it’s done; 2. Spotting Stella Era; 3. The winning driver; 4. Aachen’s Covestro Sonnenwagen begins its run (notice the timing device on the side of the car).

European Solar Challenge: Thursday morning

In the iLumen European Solar Challenge (iESC), scrutineering will take place today (Thursday), followed by the “dynamic parcour” tomorrow (Friday) and the main 24-hour track race on the weekend.

Because of Covid, the iESC is not open to the public. Fortunately, there is a plethora of technology options for following the race remotely:

Here are some snapshots from Zolder (click to zoom):

Credits: 1. Aachen settles in at Zolder, 2. SER heads out on a 700-km drive early on Thursday, 3. Agoria prepares for scrutineering, 4. aerial photograph by Circuit Zolder.

European Solar Challenge: the teams arrive

Below (click to zoom) is my final chart of cars for the 24-hour iLumen European Solar Challenge to be held at Circuit Zolder in Belgium on 18–20 September (all car photographs except the Swiss one are mine, taken at WSC). Turkish team ITU have made it to Belgium, I am happy to say, so I’ve added them back to the chart.

Agoria, Aachen, Eindhoven, Top Dutch, Twente, and ITU are already at Circuit Zolder (as at the end of the day). SER plan to travel very early on Thursday. Durham is not attending, but in the “solar car family” spirit, will run their personal 24-hour race in the UK. The weather for Zolder is looking good, but with a chance of a tiny bit of rain on Sunday.

Agoria will do a live Q&A on their Facebook on Friday 18:45 (17:45 in London; 12:45 in New York; Sat 02:45 in Sydney), as well as a live start on Saturday 12:55 (11:55 in London; 06:55 in New York; 20:55 in Sydney). Zolder will provide a live tracker.