Sonnenwagen News

The winning streak continues: congratulations to Team Sonnenwagen for their victory in the Italian Solar Challenge!

A few weeks ago, the team already managed a double victory in Zolder, and became European champion and vice-champion. Now they have done it again and won in Imola!

A truly legendary racetrack 

From September 26th-30th, the Italian Solar Challenge (ISC) took place in Imola at the world-famous racetrack Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, named after founder of Ferrari and his son. The curvy 4.9 km long track runs along a small river with a loop back over a few hills, with up to 7% gradients in some parts. Quite a challenge – but Team Sonnenwagen’s Covestro Photon is used to these ever since the Morocco 2021 race. 

Challenges abound – even before the race 

On September 27, after a smooth scrutineering, Team Sonnenwagen presented their solar car to professional engineers. In a rather challenging Tech Talk, they were able to answer all questions about the Covestro Photon.  

Motivated, the team started the next day of open practice and qualifying. However, the special asphalt of the circuit would stress the tires in the test laps so much before the actual qualifying that one tire profile was already completely worn down after only a few laps – a potential problem for the race? Team Sonnenwagen immediately decided to use new tires. This was definitely worth it, because the German students were able to finish the qualifying with a top lap time and thus an additional four laps as a reward. 

A moment of shock 

Race day saw great weather. Team Sonnenwagen made an equally fantastic start with the Covestro Photon: they completed 47 laps and one driver change without any problems and left the other teams behind! After a sunny lunch break with solar feeds of up to 1000 W, the team was confident to finish the race as the favourite. However, something unforeseen happened during the next driver change: the car's power failed due to a problem with the on-board computer. The clock was ticking, but the Sonnenwagen electrical engineers kept a cool head and demonstrated excellent teamwork and preparation: they identified the problem, installed a brand-new PCB and quickly sent the Sonnenwagen back into the race! 

In the end, the team secured the first place in the race, with a total of 89 laps after 8 hours – together with the extra laps from qualifying and hot lap, Team Sonnenwagen won the ISC with a final score of 95 laps! 

Another double victory! 

The team celebrated its remarkable victories at an outstanding awards ceremony on September 30th: they did not just win the ISC with the Challenger Cup, Team Sonnenwagen also took home the Tech Award for Best Tech Talk – a testament to the great team spirit, the hard work of the past months and years and to what is possible with solar e-mobility! This makes the team confident, especially with regard to the upcoming Australian Solar Challenge 2023. 

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