Iconic racing circuit makes fitting venue for start of world’s greatest solar car event
The Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge (ADSC), the first International Solarcar Federation (ISF) sanctioned event in the Middle East was launched at Yas Marina Circuit today.
The event is part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW). The event will take place January 15-19 and will finish at the opening ceremony of the World Future Energy Summit.
As part of ADSW, the challenge brings innovation in clean technology to life and highlights Abu Dhabi’s role as a leader in the sector. Abu Dhabi is welcoming university teams from Australia, Europe, America, Middle East and Asia to compete in the cross-country road event. The teams, which include Unites Arab Emirate’s own Petroleum Institute, will travel approximately 1,200km over the next four days in a battle for the championship title. The students have planned and prepared for city and desert road driving over the course of the event. This is no mean feat in a competition where smooth and economical driving are keys to success.
Yas Marina Circuit will be presenting the team who complete the qualifying lap in the fastest time with a prestigious award.
Al Tareq Al Ameri, CEO of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, said: “We are very pleased to be the launch venue for the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge. Being part of the first International Solarcar Federation sanctioned event to be held in the Middle East is a great way to engage the youth and compliments other activities we have such as our ‘F1 in schools’ programme. We wish all the students the very best of luck.”
ADNOC spokesperson said: “We are thrilled to be here at Yas Marina Circuit today, at the start of the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge and welcoming these students to the UAE. This is a tremendous venue and we thank those at the circuit for their involvement in the challenge. The students taking part in the solar challenge are extremely lucky to have the chance to drive on such an iconic track.”
“The Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge is an investment in innovation, science, youth, and engineering in the UAE, and ADNOC is proud to be sponsor in something so important. The students taking part will provide the future generation of engineers and scientists, in the UAE and globally. We wish all the teams the best of luck.”
The teams will undergo the qualifying round today, around a track that is also home to world famous F1™ drivers. All teams must qualify to move through to the on-road challenge, which begins on January 16, departing from Yas Marina Circuit.
“The solar challenge brings clean technology to life and highlights Abu Dhabi’s role as a leader in the sector,” said Dr. Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar. “From cutting-edge vehicle technology to harnessing solar energy, the challenge exemplifies what human ingenuity can achieve.”
Masdar’s global reputation as a renewable-energy pioneer helped bring the solar challenge to Abu Dhabi. The company’s mission to advance clean energy, along with Abu Dhabi’s role as an international energy hub, makes the emirate an ideal location for the solar-car competition.
“Abu Dhabi is the site of the world’s most important exhibition and conference on renewable energy. It was very fitting that the idea for a solar car challenge be added to provide another exciting path to the future. ISF is very proud to sanction the first Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge in the UAE,” said Hans Tholstrup, International Solarcar Federation president.
The UAE’s Petroleum Institute team has a number of high-profile rally driver ambassadors, including Mohammed Ben Sulayem who was at the launch to show his support. Sulayem has acted as an advisor to the team in the months before its first ever solar challenge.
“Working closely with the PI team has been an honour and hugely inspiring for me. This is the first time a solar car from the UAE has been taken part in an event such as this, so it is extremely important. All eyes will be on the UAE for the ADSC, but also for the home team, who have already achieved such remarkable things and I am positive they will continue to do so. Best of luck to the PI team and all of the other teams competing,” said Mr. Ben Sulayem.
Each day of the challenge will take teams to a new destination in Abu Dhabi, encompassing the landscapes the emirate has to offer. Residents will have an opportunity to see the cars in action at all checkpoints along the route.
On day one, the cars will set off from Yas Marina Circuit, from where they will across the scenic Saadiyat road and along the Corniche, past some of Abu Dhabi’s most iconic landmarks- Emirates Palace and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, before driving out to Al Ain and stopping for a checkpoint at UAE University. The teams will then continue back towards Abu Dhabi, before reaching the overnight stop at Masdar City.
Day two will offer the teams more desert driving as they set off again from Masdar City, planning for a 325km drive to Hameem in the desert, and finishing at Shams 1 concentrated solar power plant, where they will enjoy an overnight stay and experience some of the local culture.
The third day will take competitors from Shams 1 down to Liwa desert, and back west via Ghayathi towards the Shams solar station once again. The teams will cross the finish line at the solar plant, and course officials will calculate the elapsed time of how long each car took to complete the cross-country route.
On January 19, the teams will travel to Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre to the opening ceremony of ADSW, where the winners of the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge will be announced.
Organisers are strongly encouraging the public to attend all stopovers for a chance to see the cars up close and meet the teams. Stopover points are as follows:
16thJanuary: 10am-1pm at UAE University, Al Ain
19thJanuary: 8:30am at First Gulf Bank Arena, 10am at World Future Energy Summit, ADNEC
For further information:
2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge