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Laval University on the track at Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2012 on Sunday, April 1, in downtown Houston.

Laval University on the track at Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2012 on Sunday, April 1, in downtown Houston.

The Laval University team from Quebec, Canada knows how it feels to be on top at Shell Eco-marathon Americas. For three consecutive years (2009-2011), the team posted the highest mileage per gallon result in the Prototype Gasoline category.

They had prepared to defend their title for a fourth year at last year’s competition when the unexpected happened -- they did not complete a qualifying run. Mater Dei High School, from Evansville, Indiana, seized the chance and won with an impressive 2,188 miles per gallon.

“We were disappointed in our own performance but also impressed that a high school team could get that kind of mileage,” said Philippe Bouchard, Laval University team manager. “Our team has a lot of respect for Mater Dei and what they are capable of accomplishing.”

After encountering these challenges and losing half their team, Laval University was determined to regroup, come back to the competition and prove they once again have what it takes to be a top contender.

“We took our frustrations from last year’s event and used them as motivation to return better than ever,” said Philippe. “We trained our new team members and spent twice as much time fine tuning the engine and building the car.”

That hard work has paid off. One day into the Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2013 and the team has not only bested their own record at the event, they shattered it – achieving an astounding 3,001 miles per gallon. And they don’t plan to stop there. The team has runs remaining and will try to post even better numbers before they’re done.

Laval University encourages teams that might be facing similar challenges in getting to the track to keep at it, do their best, focus on preparation and, most importantly, never give up.

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Shell Eco-marathon Americas

The event is open to the public for all three days of the event and accessible (Discovery Green) dawn to dusk.