Introducing the Marathon Stage

“The Only Constant in Life Is Change.”- Heraclitus.

As we begin the launch phase of the next Sasol Solar Challenge we are once again faced with the dilemma of making the event as innovative and challenging as possible. What was once a miracle of science and engineering, driving a vehicle only powered by the Sun across a country, is now achievable by most.

As technology, experience and knowledge increases so must the challenge that is put before teams partnered with the evolution of the event’s innovations. In 2020 the Sasol Solar Challenge innovated with the introduction of 2 special stages, being a half and full blind format. This meant teams would only receive information relating to the route the night before. The focus here was to challenge the team’s ability to adapt and strategize in a short period of time. These 2 stages will be a part of the 2022 SSC, however there will be a third new dynamic to test reliability.

In 2022 the SSC will introduce for the first time the concept of a Marathon stage. This will take place across two days of the event and will require the teams to produce a vehicle that can participate for 2 full days of the challenge without the luxury of being able to completely work on the car in the evening between.

The Marathon stage will require the following from participating teams. On the first day teams will compete in the day’s stage as per usual. Once the teams cross the finish line and cars are in parc fermé they will await the “all clear” by the COC, however this is where the similarity to a normal challenge day will end.

At the “all clear” signal, teams will be granted the opportunity to have a maximum of 3 team members enter parc fermé to assess their vehicle for a maximum time of 15 minutes. Once this has passed parc fermé will be sealed off. Teams will then have a further 15 minutes to then nominate 3 individuals from their team who will be allowed to enter and work on the vehicle while it is in parc fermé for the rest of the night. Once this period has passed and all nominations are received, and the individuals registered with the COC, parc fermé will reopen. From this point onwards only these 3 individuals may enter parc fermé until the morning when the vehicles will be released to line up for the start of the next day’s stage.

Teams will not be able to pass tools or equipment into parc fermé and all gear must be brought in through the entrance where an event official will monitor the teams throughout the night.

Further details such as penalties and rules will be published in time but for now, we can welcome the Marathon stage as the 3rd special stage to the 2022 Sasol Solar Challenge.

Teams will now not only have to build a vehicle which is efficient but also durable enough to handle 2 full days of regular competition.

The Sasol Solar Challenge is a test of engineering, the human spirit and technology. The addition of the Marathon Stage adds to this mix and further challenges teams to overcome.