A third preliminary version of my race chart (I’m using the same baseline speed I used in 2017). The right vertical axis shows arrival time at “end of timing” in Darwin time (Adelaide time is an hour later).
More tragedy as Vattenfall is out of the race with a fire. The Belgians won the event (below), followed by Tokai and by Michigan (who were delayed by a time penalty). The fantastic new team Top Dutch came fourth.
Here are the results for the Sasol Solar Challenge in South Africa, as at day 7 out of 8 (click to zoom). The photo is from here (taken on day 6). The big news is the penalty of 117.4 km imposed on Nuon when a sick team member dropped their bag in the wrong van. The kilometres subtracted by the penalty are marked with light orange in the chart above, and move Nuon down to 2nd place. In my view, it reflects poorly on Tokai that they made a formal complaint about this incident, and it reflects poorly on the Sasol Solar Challenge that they imposed such a large penalty.
Here are the results for the Sasol Solar Challenge in South Africa, as at day 6 out of 8 (click to zoom). Only the Challenger class is shown. The optional daily “loops” are marked, the black spots indicate time penalties, and the photo is from here (taken by Tokai on day 4). I have calculated average speeds for the cars (hopefully correctly), and the short dashed lines show distances travelled in the 2016 event (which was a faster race, because the cars had larger solar panels).
On Wednesday, Nuon tried to do one more loop than Tokai, but decided halfway through the day that they couldn’t manage it, and slowed down again. On Thursday, they did manage it, and are now 22.7 km ahead of Tokai.
Despite some troubles on Wednesday (a strong wind gust ripped the array off the car, requiring some repairs), the Swiss team (Solar Energy Racers) is hanging on to 3rd place.
Here are the results for the Sasol Solar Challenge in South Africa, as at day 5 out of 8. Only the Challenger class is shown. The optional daily “loops” are marked, the black spot indicates a time penalty, and the photo is from here (taken on day 4). I have calculated average speeds for the cars (hopefully adjusting correctly for time spent in control stops and loop stops).
Tokai still holds the lead, Central University of Technology have finally gotten their car to pass scrutineering, and three cars are in a battle for 3rd place.
Here are the results for the Sasol Solar Challenge in South Africa, as at day 4 out of 8. Only the Challenger class is shown (not the car from Hong Kong, which is driving non-competitively). The daily “loops” are marked, and the photo is from here. See also the online tracker and my teams list and information page, which includes links to team social media.
Nuon had some minor technical problems today, allowing Tokai to take the lead. Nuon has some excellent videos about the race (Dutch with English subtitles) for day 1, day 2, day 3, and day 4.
I’m beginning to doubt that Central University of Technology (CUT) or Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) will ever get their cars working; but they clearly have not yet given up. In hindsight, universities offered the chance to start new teams should have been approached much earlier. However, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has done a fantastic repair job after the storm damage on day 1. I hope that they will be able to make it to Australia next year.
Weather forecasts for the rest of the race route are:
Here are the results for the Sasol Solar Challenge in South Africa, as at day 3 out of 8. The big storm at the end of day 1 is marked. Only the Challenger class is shown (not the car from Hong Kong, which is driving non-competitively). Black spots mark time penalties, and the photo is from here. See also my teams list and information page, which includes links to team social media.
In the Sasol Solar Challenge, teams drive a fixed route each day, with the option of detouring around a “loop” 0, 1, 2, 3, … times. These “loops” are highlighted in the chart above. For example, on day 1, Nuon and Tokai both drove the fixed route as well as driving the 76.1 km loop five times (however, these “loops” actually happen somewhere in the middle of the day’s route, not at the end).
These “loops” mean that strategy essentially becomes a version of the difficult knapsack problem. Teams must maximise the sum of the lengths of the chosen loops, subject to time and energy constraints. This is further complicated by the uncertainty of future energy input (will it be cloudy in 4 days time?) and the psychological cat-and-mouse between the leaders (something which Nuon generally excels at). It will be interesting to see how Nuon and Tokai play the strategy game over the next 5 days.
Nuon has excellent videos about the race (Dutch with English subtitles) for day 1, day 2, and day 3.
Here are the results for the Sasol Solar Challenge in South Africa, as at day 2 out of 8. The storm at the end of day 1 (which blew tents away and damaged TUT’s car) is marked. Only the Challenger class is shown, and black spots mark time penalties. See also my teams list and information page.
Nuon has vlogs (Dutch with English subtitles) for day 1 (with the storm) and day 2.
Tokai, who came 4th at WSC 2017, will race against Nuon at SASOL this year (photo: Anthony Dekker)
In further solar car racing news, preparations are 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.
The Belgian car, Punch 2, which came 3rd at WSC 2017, will be challenging Twente at iESC this year (photo: Anthony Dekker)
Missouri’s new car, Independence, was unveiled on 18 April (picture credit)
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.
Poly Montreal’s new car, Esteban 9, was unveiled on 23 April (picture credit)
Recently unveiled cars for the ASC include Missouri S&T (18 April), Poly Montreal / Esteban (23 April), and Georgia Tech (24 April). There are 17 cars still to be unveiled.
Georgia Tech’s new car, SR-2, was unveiled on 24 April (picture credit)
MostDece has written a superb blog post on the WSC challengers. Based on that, I’ve updated my previous post on dimensions. The infographic above (click to zoom) shows the reported length and width of 16 WSC cars (Challenger class only, this time). The widest car (at 2.05 m) is the South African car from NWU (below), but of course that includes the outrigger wheels. The narrowest is the long narrow bullet car from Michigan. There are also short zippy little cars from Nuon, Principia, and Punch.
Update: The chart below clusters cars with similar length/width combinations. NWU is a visible outlier. Below NWU, we have big cars (ITU, MDH, Adelaide, Aaachen, JU – over 1.6 m wide and at least 4 m long), short catamarans (Nuon, Principia, Punch – 1.55 to 1.6 m wide and at most 3.5 m long), narrow catamarans (Nagoya, Stanford, Twente, WSU – 1.38 to 1.5 m wide and at least 4 m long), and monohulls (Tokai, Kogakuin, Michigan – at most 1.2 m wide and over 4.9 m long):
Update: Unfortunately, the two charts above reflect incorrect information from the Stanford team. The Stanford car is actually substantially wider.