On Saturday at 1 p.m. the time had finally come: with a LeMans style start the 24-hour race at the Circuit Zolder began – and with it the most important part of the European Solar Challenge. With optimal weather conditions for solar vehicles the racing cars were sent out onto the track to cover the longest possible distance in 24 hours. After some starting problems, the Covestro solar car was able to catch up quickly and was in fifth place behind Punch 2 when the driving strategy received a frightening radio message from the driver of the car: the latter had slipped out of the difficult chicane and turned to the side. The relief that the driver was in good health was further enhanced by the news that the car was also undamaged, and within a short time the Covestro-Sonnenwagen was back on track. Unfortunately, we lost time and our good position in the race. During the night, after charging, we used the full battery and an almost empty track to do a hot lap under optimal conditions. We were able to set up a best time of 2:49 minutes. Only one team could beat that in the further course of the race. With the optimal average speed calculated by the driving strategy department, the Covestro-Sonnenwagen finished the race and crossed the finish line safely in seventh place overall. The Sonnenwagen 1 drove through the 24 hours as planned with two charging stops without any incidents and thus reached sixth place.
On Sunday at 1 p.m. our two race cars crossed the finish line to the cheers of the team.
In the overall standings – composed of the evaluation of the dynamic course, the fastest lap and the distance covered in the 24-hour race – the Covestro Sonnenwagen finished fifth and Sonnenwagen 1 eighth.
First place went to the Belgian Team Agoria, the current world champion, closely followed by Solar Team Twente and Top Dutch Solar Racing.
Due to the ongoing corona pandemic, the winners could celebrate their success only in a small round and the After-Race-Party had to be cancelled this year.
Although we unfortunately did not achieve the desired results at the race, it was a successful event that showed that the Solar Family sticks together even in difficult times. We all from Team Sonnenwagen are looking forward to the next iLumen European Solar Challenge that will take place in 2022.