Updated: Jul 31, 2021
Our European Solar Challenge 2020 adventure, which started in Belgium, has come to an end; We are back with 20 bees, 1 ARIBA, good memories and new experiences! We became the only team from Turkey and even from outside the European Union (EU) to participate in the race, which we participated in by overcoming various difficulties. We struggled, we did not give up, we always tried to do our best despite limited time and opportunities and we were successful.
The tests and checks continued for days and nights, our vehicle B.O.W. It was developed and prepared to go to Belgium, but we were constantly getting negative feedback about leaving the country due to the pandemic. Despite this, we kept our hopes up and good news came from the Belgian Embassy in Ankara in recent weeks. By introducing ourselves and our project, expressing why the race is very important to us, we requested a special permit and we learned that our request was positive! From this moment on, with a serious team work; We started to make efforts to solve logistics, airfare and various technical problems. At this point, when we got this news, there were only 4 working days left before the start of our race. In a time that could be said to be impossible for vehicle logistics, ITU Rector Prof. Dr. With the support of İsmail Koyuncu and our respected professors from the Rectorate, we sent our vehicle to Belgium, and then we set off on September 16 with a team of 20 people.
Excitement was at its peak, nice messages from our supporters were motivating us. A new problem arose on the way from Brussels to Circuit Zolder, where the race would be held, the customs clearance of our car in Belgium was extended and it did not seem possible to make it to the race. At this point, with the intervention of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, our vehicle was changed from normal cargo status to "diplomatic cargo" status, and customs procedures were completed much earlier than the specified time. Once again, we were able to overcome this challenge without losing hope and there was no obstacle to our participation in the race!
For the first stage of the race, "Dynamic Parkour", our number 34 car B.O.W. We got it with. We learned that we finished 5th in this stage, where the dynamic capability of the vehicle was tested by passing around various obstacles, and this result motivated us for the other stages.
The second stage of the race, the 24-hour race, started at 14.00 Turkish time. Our race would continue for 24 hours without stopping and we had the right to charge our car only twice. Except for charging times, the team that could stay on the track the most with only the energy taken from the sun would be able to take the most laps.
The third stage of the race was the "Fastest Lap" within the 24-hour stage. In the 24-hour race, the teams try to complete a lap very quickly at the appropriate times by analyzing their energy consumption and current status, and are ranked as a result of their fastest laps at the end of the race. We managed to be 3rd with our fastest lap of 2:59.665 in the morning! With the end of the 24-hour stage, we began to wait for the official results and attended the ceremony. We won the 23rd award in our 16-year team history by winning the "Spirit of the Event" trophy, which was announced as the "Most Struggling Team", addressing our team's successful overcoming of the difficulties we experienced both before and during the race, thanks to our team spirit. Afterwards, we were proud once again that the official results came in. "Golden Car" became the 3rd fastest Challenger in Europe, completing the dynamic track 5th, and the race 7th at the end of the 24-hour stage. It was very valuable for us to be able to get this degree with limited opportunities and to be able to represent ITU in the best way in this race where Europe's most prestigious technical universities such as KU Leuven, Aachen, Twente and Eindhoven participated.
With the new experiences, achievements and friendships we gained in the race, we returned to our country and quarantined ourselves. After we got out of the quarantine, we started working for our new goal, World Solar Challenge 2021, with the motivation of the race, without slowing down.
In this process, ITU Rector Prof. Dr. We would like to thank all our supporters, especially İsmail Koyuncu.