Solar Challenge Morocco
When the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge was cancelled in February 2021, we had to come up with an alternative race to showcase our new solar car, Green Spirit, and compete with solar teams from around the world. The result of months of consulting, meeting with other teams and hard work is the Solar Challenge Morocco 2021.
This new race will lead us 2500 km through the Middle-Atlas and Sahara desert. Since the race will be held for the very first time this year, all teams have the same chances of crossing the finish line first. The Solar Challenge is a time challenge divided over 5 different stages and lasts 5 days in total. The Solar Challenge Morocco both starts and ends in the port city Agadir:
• 23 October: Static Scrutineering
• 24 October: Dynamic Scrutineering & Qualification
• 25 October - Race day 1: Agadir -> Zagora 479 km
• 26 October - Race day 2: Zagora -> Merzouga via Ouarzazate 552 km
• 27 October - Race day 3: Merzouga -> Merzouga via Tinghir and Errachidia 441 km
• 28 October - Race day 4: Merzouga -> Zagora via Errachidia 504 km
• 29 October - Race day 5: Zagora -> Agadir 479 km
• 30 October: Closing ceremony
The race is organized by the Dutch company Classic Events. Unlike the organization of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, Classic Events arranges our care and accommodation during the race. We will spend the night in bivouacs set up in the desert.
At first glance, the Solar Challenge Morocco and Bridgestone World Solar Challenge look quite similar; after all, the climate in Australia and Morocco is comparable. However, there are a number of important differences that make the Solar Challenge Morocco a completely new challenge for Top Dutch Solar Racing. First, the landscape in Morocco is very mountainous. The result is that the race route has a height difference of approximately 8 km and a 10 degree climbing slope. This is a challenge for our solar car, Green Spirit, as the car is based on the Australian Outback countryside. Since the decision for Morocco, the electric motor has been adapted to cope with the mountainous landscape.
In addition, the race route of the Solar Challenge Morocco is not a straight line like the route from Darwin to Adelaide. The roads in Morocco have many curves and are not all equally good. Therefore, the driving skills and competence of our drivers is very important during this race. They must remain focused at all times - especially on the narrow mountain roads in the Atlas!
Agadir - Agadir is a port city in Western Morocco, on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean near the foot of the Atlas Mountains. The city is home to almost one million people and after the 1960 earthquake that destroyed the city, it was rebuilt as one of Morocco's main tourist cities, alongside Marrakesh. To this day, its economy is driven by tourism and fisheries.
Zagora - Zagora is a small city in the East of Morocco. It has its name from the nearby mountain Mount Zagora that is more than 1000m high.
Merzouga - Merzouga is a small village in the middle of the desert. It is located at the edge of Erg Chebbi, a large area covered in sand dunes that attract lots of tourists.
The reason why our new challenge will take place in Morocco is the similar climate in comparison to Australia. After all, we need a lot of sunlight in order to drive a solar car for five days in a row. A special challenge we are facing during this race is the elevation change of around 8km and the narrow mountain streets of Morocco. Since our solar car was designed with the Australian Outback in mind, the Solar Challenge Morocco will add another layer of suspense and excitement to our project.