The excitement is mounting as we approach the date for Team Sonnenwagen’s next major challenge – a five-day race covering 2,500km.
Challenge Morocco 2021, sponsored by Bridgestone, will take their latest car from Agadir in the south, across to the foothills of Atlas Mountains and the edge of the Sahara and back again. This is going to be a huge test for the 45-strong team and they’ll be up against cars designed and developed by the world’s leading technical universities.
The team has now arrived in Morocco and is spending a few days acclimatising to local weather conditions. The Covestro Photon will now be put through its paces under race conditions before participating in qualifying rounds – and all being well – lining up for the starter’s flag on October 25th.
New rules introduced for this race included the use of just three wheels, and the requirement to be able to place a dummy of up to 2m in height in one of the car seats for the full duration of the race.
Thanks to the amazing Siemens software, the team were able to produce computer models that explored and tested a whole range of options, design ideas and different test conditions … all without having to leave their desks.
Among the innovations developed for the latest race model, are titanium components which deliver an improved weight ratio and a special ‘sharkskin’ surface that has been applied to the rear of the vehicle to reduce drag and increase efficiency. The regular micro-patterns, developed by BionicSurface Technology, trap, and guide air, which makes gliding through the Moroccan sun as easy as a shark glides through water.
More than 250,000 software hours were clocked up as they wrestled with the requirements – representing a fantastic team effort and proof that collaboration can work successfully even if they were all working remotely thanks to Covid.
Racing in Morocco is going to present the team with additional challenges which weren’t originally anticipated. The latest car was designed with the original Australia race in mind – with flat, long, straight roads across a very sunny terrain the order of the day.
With the need to switch the location to Morocco, the car will now need to function in a topographically different environment, with more variable sun power, different wind speeds and lots of bends and hills!
Putting this solar technology to the test under competition conditions can tell the team a great deal, accelerating knowledge and learning about solar power and its potential for e-mobility applications. E-mobility is playing a critical role in helping the world to find carbon neutral transport solutions, and we’re excited to discover how the team can help to make the technological leap from the racetrack to the road!
Here’s how the latest timetable of events looks:
From all of us at BayWa r.e., we wish Team Sonnenwagen the very best of luck and we can’t wait to see how their fantastic new car performs in the coming qualifying rounds and race!