The Shell Eco-Marathon is an annual fuel economy competition held in the UK with competitors ranging from 11 year-old students through to senior university academics and semi professional independent teams.
The rules are simple - build a machine which uses the least fuel possible while averaging averaging more than 15mph around a circuit. Beyond engine efficiency, there are many related design considerations which influence the final fuel economy returned, such as aerodynamics, rolling resistance and driving techniques to achieve the highest.
Last year saw a new world economy record set during the event when Team MicroJoule achieved an average fuel consumption of 10,705 mpg - to put that in perspective, that's the distance from London to Melbourne, Australia on less than one gallon of fuel!
The French team beat their own previous world fuel consumption record by nearly 500mpg, their previous record having been set during the 2001 Eco-Marathon UK.
This year the event was held over two days of intense competition at the Rockingham Motor Speedway, Corby, Northants, and the French Microjoule, team from St Sebastien, again took the top step on the podium with an average fuel consumption of 9737 mpg.
The team won despite many problems over the weekend, suffering a broken chain and then mechanical problems which necessitated an overnight engine rebuild, but they still managed to beat their nearest rival by over 2000mpg.
While the best competitors in the Shell Eco-Marathon continually push the limits of the internal combustion engine, there are many classes and categories which encourage students to put theirknowledge into practice.
Overall results:1st - Microjoule (France): 9737mpg2nd - Team Callo (France): 6952mpg3rd - BSMM (Finland): 5667mpg
Class Awards:Best University - Eco Veiculo (Portugal): 4699mpgBest School - Newland House School (UK): 1645mpgBest UK - Team Green (Bath, UK): 5296mpgBest LPG - Team Green (Bath, UK): 3683mpgBest Hydrogen - PAC Car (Switzerland): 5718mpg