TUT Solar Team wins the 2nd Bridgestone Ilanga Cup, twice in a row

The TUT Solar Team has retained its title as the Bridgestone Ilanga Challenger Class Champions, after completing a whooping 110 laps on the 4 km long racetrack during the 12-hour challenge.

The second edition of this exhilarating event was held at the Red Star Raceway in Delmas, Mpumalanga under a scorching 32-degree Celsius, which presented favorable conditions for the solar car endurance 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 competition, a combination of nerves, excitement, and the sense of uncertainty was so apparent in the faces of team members, who were seemingly holding their breaths to see their vehicles completing the first lap without any complication.

The solar team from the Tshwane University of Technology took an early lead and managed to keep the momentum going, circling around the winding 4 km state-of-the-art closed track.

After establishing a significant lead in the challenge, it soon became apparent that it would be near impossible to catch and overtake the smooth sailing Sun Chaser 4.

During the course of the challenge however, three tyres got damaged, but the team still managed to beat their 2022 record of 93 laps during the then 8-hour endurance challenge.

Genuine JV from the HTS John Vorster high school in Pretoria, that was also competing in the Challenger Class division came second. The team recorded an impressive 82 laps in stark contrast to last year’s 28.

The team that came third in the same category was Mpumalanga Solar Flair, after suffering a blow during the endurance challenge. The three wheeled vehicle’s shaft unfortunate broke in the 28th lap. The team, though disappointed with the incident, seemed unfazed by the setback, promising to come back stronger in 2024.

In the Cruiser Class category, UniSolar and EVNXT as this year’s debutants went head-to-head in the day-long challenge.

After having a slow start due to some minor mechanical issues, the UniSolar team still managed to complete 32 laps. Its competitor from the EVNXT solar team, managed an outstanding 46 laps, taking first place in the Cruiser Class division.

Bridgestone, one of the global leaders in tyre manufacturing and technology was this year’s title sponsor. Its invaluable investment contributed massively to the stunning success of the Ilanga Cup Solar Challenge.

Speaking at the award ceremony at the end of the challenge, Bridgestone Manager: Motorsport and Motorcycle Shailesh Singh thanked all teams for taking part in the challenge, saying the endurance event is critical in developing sustainable innovation in the motoring industry, something that resonates deeply with their brand.

The director of Bridgestone Ilanga Cup, Rob Walker thanked all participants, sponsors and all partners who helped make the 2023 event, a reality.