TUT Solar Team and their winning Sunchaser IV.
The second edition of the challenging event was held at the Red Star Raceway in Delmas, Mpumalanga on 4 October 2023. The scorching 32-degree Celsius temperature presented favourable conditions for the challenge.
Five groups of renewable technology engineers and enthusiasts entered the 2023 Bridgestone Ilanga Cup to test the performance and endurance levels of their inventions.
At the start of the challenge, a combination of nerves, excitement and a sense of uncertainty was apparent on the faces of team members, who were seemingly holding their breaths to see their vehicles completing the first lap without any complication.
TUT’s SunChaser 4 solar car took an early lead and managed to keep the momentum going, circling around the winding 4.3km state-of-the-art closed track.
After establishing a significant lead in the challenge, it soon became clear that it would be near impossible to catch or overtake the smooth sailing SunChaser 4.
Although three tyres got damaged during the challenge, the team still managed to beat their 2022 record of 94 laps.
Dr Christiaan Oosthuizen, solar car team leader, said he was proud of the team. “The ultimate goal is to create a pipeline of young engineers who can find their way into the industry and eventually design the cars of the future, which will be more efficient and environment friendly. The aim is also to let them test their ideas and develop technology that will find its way into the commercial car market.”
“Winning the 2023 Bridgestone IIanga Cup is evidence of the great work emanating the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment,” he concluded.