Image from NASA (Australians must look East)
Image from fourmilab
Notice those mountains! Here is the elevation profile for the route (constructed using elevation data from team 42). The two highlighted sections have average slopes of 1 in 39, which will be a tough climb (click to zoom):
And this is what they look like. Here is Red Canyon Scenic Overlook, coming out of Lander:
Continuing my coverage of the American Solar Challenge (ASC) this coming July, it’s worth remembering that the real race has been to design, build, and test cars prior to scrutineering on Friday July 6th. This chart shows progress to date, combining social media reports with submission of pre-event documents (see my annotated team status list for the numbers). It can be seen that some teams are still working on completing their cars, while others are ready to rock and roll.
And here are some construction memories. The chassis for Polytech Solar, the Russian team (89):
Appalachian State University (Sunergy, team 828) display the molds for their Cruiser:
Georgia Tech (team 49) add some finishing touches to their car:
Poly Montreal (Esteban, team 55) test their completed car:
ETS Quebec (Eclipse, team 101) summarise their whole build process:
It’s time for me to begin my coverage of the American Solar Challenge (ASC) this coming July. Following qualification at Motorsport Park Hastings, Nebraska, this solar-car race will run from Omaha, Nebraska to Bend, Oregon. Scrutineering will start on Friday July 6th, qualification track racing on Tuesday the 10th, and the road race itself will run from Saturday the 14th to Sunday the 22nd. As the map above shows, much of the road race run through some pretty serious mountains (click to zoom).
Note: this poster has been updated – see here
Currently, 24 solar car teams from 6 countries are entered in the race, in two classes (Cruiser class and Challenger class). I am maintaining an annotated team status list for the race. See also the official ASC social media at (click on the symbols), and the poster above (click to zoom).
And here is one car – Argo from the University of Illinois:
On June 3, two of the top Cruiser-class solar cars held a Midwestern Solar Challenge, racing south from St Paul, MN to Ames, IA. The teams were:
Here is my (totally informal) scoring of the race (see the chart below):
In solar car racing news, 29 teams are registered for the American Solar Challenge (ASC) in July. Scrutineering for this race begins on July 6, track racing on July 10, and the road race runs from July 14 to July 22. I am maintaining a detailed information page and teams list for this race. Five teams are attending with cars that raced at WSC 2017 (including one Australian team), although these cars will require adjustment to satisfy ASC rules. Seven other teams had existing cars (including one Russian team). The remaining teams have been building new cars.
Recently unveiled cars for the ASC include Missouri S&T (18 April), Poly Montreal / Esteban (23 April), Georgia Tech (24 April), and ETS Quebec / Eclipse (16 May). A couple of teams have (very sadly) dropped out, while many other teams are frantically working on their cars. Iowa State University (PrISUm) and the University of Minnesota are holding a practice mini-race on June 3 (with cars on display at the Science Museum of Minnesota the day before). Full details on all teams and latest news here.
Fourteen teams have registered so far for the 24 hour iLumen European Solar Challenge (iESC) at Circuit Zolder in Belgium (September 19 to 23), and Twente will be defending their title there. World champions Nuon might also attend (with an old car). I am maintaining an information page and teams list for this race as well. See also the official iESC social media at
Preparations are also continuing for the SASOL Solar Challenge in South Africa (September 22 to 30). Defending champions Nuon and Japanese team Tokai will attend this event, along with local teams, such as North-West University, Tshwane University of Technology, the University of Johannesburg, Vaal University of Technology, Central University of Technology, and the University of Cape Town.
The Albi Eco Race at Circuit d’Albi in France this weekend had five solar car teams in addition to their other race classes (see also the race start). The weather was fine. You can check out the copious FB photographs from Eco Solar Breizh or the official social media ( and ). Final results are shown below.
This team came 14th at Abu Dhabi 2015. It is a French (or rather, Breton) team, started in 2008. They also raced at ESC in 2014, and came third in the 2017 Albi Eco Race. Their car is called Heol, and is a symmetric design. They recently got new solar panels. Final result: 5th.
This team is from Polytech Clermont-Ferrand. They raced at WSC 2009. Final result: 3rd.
This team, from Lycée Jehan de Beauce in Chartres, fielded two cars: SolCar28 (illustrated) and WattSun28. Final result: 4th (WattSun28) and 6th (SolCar28).
This team came 2nd in the WSC 2013 Cruiser class. They came 3rd in the WSC 2015 Cruiser class. They came 2nd in the WSC 2017 Cruiser class. They came second in the 2017 Albi Eco Race. They drove to Circuit d’Albi with their 2011 car, SolarWorld GT. They also took their incredibly beautiful 2015 car, the ThyssenKrupp SunRiser. Both are 2-seat Cruisers. Final result: 1st (SolarWorld GT, 103 laps or 367 km) and 7th (SunRiser, 100 laps but late-race battery problems).
This team came 25th at WSC 2015. They came 9th at ESC 2016. Their car is called Destech Solaris, and is a symmetric design. They arrived at Albi very early Friday morning, after a long trip. Final result: 2nd.
This page last updated 15:52 on 27 May 2018 AEST