Italian Solar Challenge Results

Above are official lap counts (in two stints) for the recent Italian Solar Challenge at the Imola Circuit near Bologna.

Bochum reported electrical problems with their SunRiser, and did not race, although they had successfully completed a qualifying lap (both Bochum cars had driven all the way to Italy). The local Italian team had even more serious electrical problems.

According to the regulations, for the Challenger class, there should be added to the scores above:

  • 2 laps for the fastest lap during the race (Aachen gets this, with a time of 4:09.236 in the first stint, i.e. 70.9 km/h for the lap)
  • 4 laps for the pole position in the qualifications (Aachen gets this too)

Consequently, Aachen’s lap score should, I understand, be adjusted up to 95.

Update: it seems that the organisers have decided to retroactively merge the two classes. Rankings are therefore:

  1. Aachen
  2. Bochum
  3. Solaris
  4. Solis-EV

Italian Solar Challenge now on

The Italian Solar Challenge is now on at the Imola Circuit near Bologna. A calendar for the event is shown above. Further details and team social media links can be found on my annotated teams list. See also the race social media at    

The Covestro Sonnenwagen (left) and the thyssenkrupp SunRiser (right) are 2 of the 7 cars at the event (photos by Anthony Dekker, click images to zoom)


The start grid is shown below, courtest of team Sonnenwagen Aachen, who also have a livestream here. It seems that I was wrong in the pictures above; Aachen are racing only the three-wheel Covestro Photon. Bochum reports electrical problems with their SunRiser, which they expect to race only a few laps.

European Solar Challenge Lap Data

All too soon, the 24-hour iLumen European Solar Challenge is over. The charts above and below (click to zoom) show results from the live timing board. The winners of the two classes (Challenger and CR = Cruiser) will be decided on points scores, which are still to come. Meanwhile, however, the German teams from Aachen and Bochum deserve special congratulations. For updates, see also the race social media at    

Update 1: there are apparently no official results yet. All that has been released has been the podiums:

  • Challenger: 1. Covestro Photon (Aachen), 2. Covestro Sonnenwagen (Aachen), 3. RED E (Twente)
  • Cruiser: 1. Lodz, 2. Onda Solare, 3. Stella Era (Eindhoven)

Using the guidelines in the official regulations, I can calculate the Challenger class scores (see below).

Update 2: the official results have now been released, and I have added the chart below. Bochum seems to have lost out from having a two-seater car. For the rest, practicality judging makes up 40% of the final Cruiser score at iESC, so that Lodz essentially won on practicality (although I note that four of the Cruisers raced in Australia in 2019, and I would have expected both practicality and efficiency scores at Zolder to have been somewhat similar).

European Solar Challenge (iESC)

The iLumen European Solar Challenge in Belgium is about to begin – see my annotated list of iESC teams. The 24-hour track race will start at 13:00 on the 17th, continuing until 13:00 on the 18th. The image above shows Kratos EAFIT (from Colombia), Sonnenwagen Aachen (from Germany), Top Dutch (from the Netherlands), and Onda Solare (from Italy).

For fans at home interested in the weather, check the forecast. It looks like it will be rather wet, sadly. At the top of this page is a webcam nearby, looking west, towards the Zolder racetrack. This webcam is at the track itself (with a view of the “Kleine Chicane,” looking roughly north from just about the centre of the track). Circuit Zolder has a live timing board and tracker. See also the race social media at      

Italian Solar Challenge 2022

Following the iLumen European Solar Challenge in Belgium will be the Italian Solar Challenge, from 25 to 30 September at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari near Bologna. Here is a list of 5 teams from 4 countries (3 Challenger teams and 2 Cruiser teams) intending to race in this event. See also the race social media at    

The ISC permits up to 6 m2 solar panels in both Challenger and Cruiser classes. Detailed regulations can be found on the ISC website.

IT  Onda Solare 

Four-seat cruiser (Emilia 4 LT) – they won the American Solar Challenge (Cruiser class) in 2018, and they have written up their design process here, but they have since made substantial improvements to the vehicle, including to the aerodynamics, suspension, battery, and solar panels. There is also an unusual open tail.

Previously, Onda came 10th at WSC 13; participated in the WSC 19 Cruiser class; won the ASC 18 Cruiser class; came 10th at Abu Dhabi 15; came 6th at iESC 16; won the iESC 21 Cruiser class; and came 2nd in the iESC 22 Cruiser class. Their team number (9) is taken from the SS 9, the highway through Bologna, which was once the Roman Via Aemilia (hence also the name of their vehicle).

Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

11  DE  BoSolarCar Association (BOSolarCar e.V.) 

Two-seat cruiser (thyssenkrupp SunRiser) – BOSolarCar e.V. is an association of Bochum alumni that maintains and races old Bochum cars. They will also race their older SolarWorld GT in Italy.

Previously, Bochum came 2nd in the WSC 13 Cruiser class; came 3rd in the WSC 15 Cruiser class; came 2nd in the WSC 17 Cruiser class; came 4th in the WSC 19 Cruiser class; came 3rd, 4th, and 5th at iESC 16; came 2nd, 3rd, and 5th in the iESC 18 Cruiser class; came 3rd and 4th in the iESC 21 Cruiser class; came 4th in the iESC 22 Cruiser class; came 1st and 7th at Albi Eco 18; came 1st and 2nd at Albi Eco 19; and came 3rd at Albi Eco 22.

Left: SolarLabor / Right: Anthony Dekker (click images to zoom)

70  DE  Sonnenwagen Aachen 

Three-wheel (outrigger) challenger (Covestro Photon) – their older monohull, Covestro Sonnenwagen, will also be on track in Belgium.

Previously, Aachen participated at WSC 17; came 6th at WSC 19; came 3rd at iESC 18; came 5th and 8th at iESC 20; came 2nd and 6th at iESC 21; came 1st and 2nd at iESC 22; and came 5th at SCM 21. Their team number (70) is the number they raced with in 2017.

Left: Anthony Dekker / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

81  TR  Solar Team Solaris (Dokuz Eylül University) 

Challenger (S11) – they have replaced their old catamaran with a bullet car, which they will be racing again.

Previously, Solaris participated in the WSC 13 Adventure class; came 25th at WSC 15; came 18th at WSC 19; came 9th at iESC 16; came 7th at iESC 21; came equal 8th at iESC 22; came 2nd at Albi Eco 18; and came 2nd at MSRC 19.

Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

99  RO  Solis-EV (TU Cluj-Napoca) 

Challenger (Solis) – this is team is from Cluj-Napoca in Romania.

Previously, Solis-EV came 9th at iESC 21 and came equal 8th at iESC 22.

Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

This page last updated 08:45 on 26 September 2022 AEST.

Solar racing car numbers

As in all races, solar racing cars are identified by number. Some solar car numbers are simply traditional, like the 8 for Agoria Solar Team from Belgium (above). Others have a specific meaning, as shown in the chart below.

Some numbers are lucky in some way, such as 21 = “Twente-One.” Some are coded references to solar technology, such as 55 = the year that Western Electric began to sell licenses for silicon PV technology. Alternatively, numbers indicate the team’s home base. This can be done by specifying a road, such as the the Interstate 35 or Strade Statali 9 = the Via Aemilia. More commonly, telephone country or area codes are used, such as 40 = Eindhoven, 46 = Sweden, 82 = South Korea, or 828 = western North Carolina. Not shown in the chart is 34 = the vehicle license plate prefix for Istanbul.

Mobile phone picture by Rafael Fernandez

European Solar Challenge laps

Supplementary to my charts of iLumen European Solar Challenge results, the chart above shows lap timing during the race. Solid lines are Challenger class, while dashed lines are Cruiser class (Onda Solare won the Cruiser class on points). As in the 2020 event, key to Agoria’s success was stopping to recharge only once during the night. Also notice that Lodz covered 235 laps (943 km) in their Cruiser without stopping to recharge at all.

European Solar Challenge results

The iLumen European Solar Challenge is over. Challenger Class results are shown above, and Cruiser Class results below. The heights of the bars show points allocated in the various categories. Twente was third overall on points in the Challenger Class, although a very close second in terms of laps (344).

A number of teams had some unfortunate problems, and the Cruisers from Eindhoven and PUT Solar Dynamics were not able to hit the track at all. For pictures, see team social media (see my list of teams) or iESC social media at        (click on the icons).

Update: see also this lap chart.

Farewell to the World Solar Challenge

This ends my World Solar Challenge 2019 coverage. I will begin covering the American Solar Challenge in a few months. Meanwhile, regular science content resumes.

Summary of WSC additional awards:

  • CSIRO technical innovation award: Kogakuin, for their hydropneumatic suspension.
  • Safety award: Sonnenwagen Aachen, who crashed.
  • Spirit of the Event award: Sonnenwagen Aachen, for not giving up.
  • Promotional award: Solar Team Twente, for their excellent media.
  • Excellence in engineering award: Top Dutch, for their wonderful car.

World Solar Challenge: statistics and recent news

Top left: Onda Solare revealed their modified Cruiser Emilia 4 LT on 31 July (credit); Top right: Western Sydney revealed their new monohull Challenger Unlimited 3.0 on 7 August (photo: Anthony Dekker); Bottom left: STC revealed their unusual passenger-behind-driver Cruiser on 8 August (credit); Bottom right: Durham revealed their asymmetric Challenger Ortus on 12 August (credit)

We have had a few new solar car reveals recently (see above – click to zoom). The pie chart below shows current statistics (excluding #67 Golden State and #86 Dyuti, which do not seem to be active teams). Among the Challengers, the designs for #4 Antakari, #10 Tokai, and #18 EcoPhoton are still unknown.

Monohulls remain a minority among the Challengers (though a minority that has doubled in size since 2017). I am using the term “outrigger” for cars with monohull bodies but wheels sticking well out to the sides (the two new Swedish teams, #23 HUST and #51 Chalmers). There are also two quite different wide symmetric cars (#22 MDH and #63 Alfaisal). Among the Cruisers, 4-seaters remain a minority, in spite of the substantial points benefit for carrying multiple passengers. As always, see my regularly updated illustrated teams list for details.