Look Mum, no petrol

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No47, Sandbach School, Cheshire

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July 16, 2007 Not long ago, extra curricular involvement during school holidays for pre-teens culminated in a talk entitled “what I did on my school holidays” about a trip to the zoo or some other out-of-the ordinary excursion where children were encouraged to show their ability to learn from their surroundings. Behold then, the modern equivalent – the 31st annual Shell Eco-marathon UK this week saw the involvement of hundreds of British school children. With an eye on fuel efficiency, children as young as 11 were pushing the boundaries of vehicle design and engineering to achieve fuel consumption figures of over 1,000mpg. Sandbach School triumphed in the schools class with an incredible 2,250mpg, sufficient to take 12th place overall in the open competition in their first year. The winner was once again the world fuel consumption champion Microjoule with 10,517 mpg. Just wait ‘til these kids leave school.

For the second year, schools gathered from all over the UK to compete in the Shell Eco-marathon UK ‘Schools Initiative’. There was hot competition between the youngsters to beat their nearest rivals – be it the school from the next town or the one in the pit garage next to them. Sandbach School triumphed in both the Schools Initiative and also the overall Schools Class with an impressive 2,250.5mpg, sufficient to secure a well-deserved 12th overall in their first year. Leon-ardo followed second in the Schools Initiative on 1,321.6mpg, while Hitchingbrooke School rounded out the top three with 1,060.3mpg. “It’s so cool to be here and driving” enthuses 11 year old Elliot Lane, team driver for Sandbach School. “We don’t get to do this anywhere else, and it was so much fun building the car”. Upon a wet and cold end to the day, he comments excitably: “I wish we could stay!” While the action was hot between the schools, there was plenty to see all the way through the field. The best British entry was Team Green, supported by Bath University. Team Green has consistently been the top of the pile in the UK, and this year is no exception as they recorded a figure of 5,958.8mpg. Meanwhile there was also focus on other forms of vehicle propulsion. The GTL (Gas to Liquids) class was won by Economus at 1,618.1mpg, and the LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) class won by Team Callo with 6,504.7mpg. Taking economy further than simply fuel, the team from Ockenden School in car number 54 displayed fantastic resourcefulness in manufacturing their machine. Recycling materials such as old school desks, the team of school children successfully completed the build for a total of £9.98, making it the lowest-cost competitor in the paddock.

“We just wanted to produce a vehicle using recycled materials” explained Paul Miles, team manager. “Using old desks allowed us to build a strong chassis, and we even used one of the wheels from our dinner ladies’ trolley! Unfortunately we had a few problems today, but the experience, especially for the children, has been fantastic”.

This year’s Shell Eco-marathon UK has been a resounding success, with a record number of entrants working towards developing the skills to tackle the energy solutions of tomorrow. And the future is looking even better, with over 2,300 school children and their teachers from around the country visiting the Shell Eco-marathon UK with an eye to competing in the future.

Summing up the 2007 event, Paul Snaith, Vice President Downstream Marketing, Shell Global Solutions, was clearly impressed by what he saw: “What an incredible event; it never fails to amaze me the team work and energy that these school children apply to competing here. Some of the solutions are fantastically innovative – the domestic ladder being used as a chassis stands out for me. Looking at what these children have achieved, I can see that many of them would be a great asset to Shell and indeed the energy industry as a whole, and for the engineering and science challenges that lie ahead for all of us.”



1. Microjoule, 10,516.9mpg 2. Tim04, 7,199.3mpg 3. Team Green, 5,958.9mpg

Schools Class

1. Sandbach School , 2,250.5mpg 2. Intercop, 1,374.6mpg 3. TSR 3, 1,349.9mpg

Schools Initiative

1. Sandbach School, 2,250.5mpg 2. Leon-ardo, 1,321.6mpg 3. Hitchingbrooke School, 1,060.3mpg

Best Diesel: Team Callo, 3,793.7mpg

Best Alternative : ESSTIN (solar), 10,197.0mpg

Best LPG: Team Callo, 6,504.7mpg

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