ADELAIDE, Australia — The organizers of the 2021 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge have canceled the event, scheduled for Oct. 22-30 in Australia, due to international travel restrictions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The challenge, which involves completing a journey of nearly 1,900 miles across Australia from Darwin to Adelaide in solar-powered vehicles, would have been the event's 16th edition.
The next edition of the biennial event will be in October 2023, but the organizers said they are "considering alternative options" for later this year to engage registered Bridgestone World Solar Challenge teams.
The decision to cancel followed "extensive consideration" of all possibilities for staging the next event.
"Despite our best efforts and extensive scenario planning, the complexities of international border closures and bringing in such a large number of participants have prompted this difficult decision."
Preparing for the event requires long lead times and logistical requirements associated with participants and cars traveling to Australia.
"We are deeply disappointed for the dedicated group of university students who hoped to join us for the 2021 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge," Hitaf Rasheed, executive director, Events South Australia, said.
"We know how hard they have worked towards this goal and are determined to recognize their efforts. We will continue to work with the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge community on virtual initiatives to showcase the solar vehicles currently under construction."
The event is organized principally by the South Australian Tourism Commission in association with the Northern Territory Government, with Bridgestone Corp. as the primary sponsor.