Upcoming solar car races in the UAE

As my readers know, this blog is heavily involved in supporting solar car teams. There is a confusing situation coming up where two different solar car events are planned for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in early 2022 (United Solar Challenge and Oasis Solar Car Challenge). As a service to teams, therefore, here is the best information that I have been able to collate about the two events (please comment if I have gotten anything wrong or left anything out).

Michigan during the 2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, which they won (credit: Noah Kaczor)

United Solar Challenge Oasis Solar Car Challenge
Date 11–24 Jan, 2022 27 Jan–11 Feb, 2022
Social media        
Regs Cars can satisfy any of the ASC 2018, ASC 2021, BWSC 2019, or BWSC 2021 regs, implying a rather heterogeneous field of cars. Regs are based on the BWSC 2021 regs, but there will be a combination of distance-based and time-based stages.
Classes Challengers and Cruisers competing together in a single class, but subdivided on whether teams intend to take advantage of “turning points.” Challengers only for 2022, with other classes starting in 2023.
Mentoring There is an emphasis on mentoring local teams. There is a strong emphasis on mentoring local teams.
Planning The organisers previously planned the successful 2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, but also the 2017 fiasco in Egypt, where some teams turned up, but were unable to race in that country because the roads were not physically suitable for solar cars, and because there was apparently no permit to conduct the race (see my report). The organisers are the same people that run the Sasol Solar Challenge in South Africa. There is evidence both of well-advanced planning and of local engagement for this event in the UAE.
Financial support Financial support may be available to some teams, although details are still uncertain. European teams that participate in the 2021 Solar Challenge Morocco will not be eligible for support. Financial support is available to all teams, but the event is invitation-only (i.e. all teams can apply to participate, but only a limited number will be accepted).
ISF status ISF-sanctioned. This means that participants will collect points in the new ISF “championship points” system (this will be nowhere near as prestigious as placing Nth in the BWSC, but may be a selling point to sponsors for teams not intending to race in Australia). Not an ISF-sanctioned event (although I don’t see that that really matters).

Highway connecting the Liwa Oasis villages, Abu Dhabi (credit: Nepenthes)

Hope Mars Mission News

MBRSC image of the Emirates Mars Mission Hope orbiter superimposed on an ESA/MPS/OSIRIS true-colour image of Mars

The Emirates Mars Mission Hope orbiter, launched in July last year, is scheduled for Mars orbit insertion on Tuesday 9 February (at 3:42 PM GMT = 9:42 AM Chicago time = 2:42 AM Wed Sydney time). The orbiter has three scientific instruments intended to study different aspects of the Martian atmosphere:

  • The Emirates Mars Infrared Spectrometer (EMIRS) will study the lower atmosphere of Mars at infrared wavelengths, looking for dust, ice particles, etc.
  • The Emirates Exploration Imager (EXI) will study the lower atmosphere of Mars at visible (RGB) and ultraviolet (UV-A/C) wavelengths and will also take pictures of the planet itself.
  • The Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS) will study gases in the upper atmosphere of Mars.

For updates, see the Hope Mars Mission website and the official Hope Mars Mission social media at        (click on the icons).

Update: Hope Mars orbit insertion was successful.

World Solar Challenge: Team 6

6  Petroleum Institute Solar Car (YAS)

Team 6, from the Petroleum Institute in the UAE, were the home team in the recent Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, where they came 2nd. They are racing in the World Solar Challenge this year, but because their car (above) has three wheels, it does not qualify for the Challenger class. Instead, they have entered the Adventure class, where they are the clear favourite. Good luck, team 6!

Update: sadly, this team has withdrawn from the race.

For up-to-date lists of all World Solar Challenge 2015 teams, see: