Day 3: February 28, 2015

It’s finally here! Saturday is the first on-track competition day. The 51 teams through the technical inspection early this morning were already free to go out on track – Prototypes first – to make their first of five possible award attempts. By 4 pm, the number was 83.

Each attempt requires driving 10 laps of the 1.3 km-long urban track at Manila’s Rizal Park. The amount of fuel or energy consumed is measured meticulously by the technical team, who calculate how far the cars would have travelled on the equivalent of one litre of fuel.

Onwards, mainly upwards

By lunchtime, the only Japanese competitor, Clean Diesel Team from Hyogo Prefectural Tajima Technical Institute, had powered through last year’s best diesel Prototype result. They drove 1,165 kilometres per litre equivalent on their first attempt, compared to 717.6 km/l. Team leader Daichi Sakamoto now wants to hit 1,500 km/l equivalent.

One of this year’s favourites is Thai team Luk Jao Mae Khlong Prapa, with their ethanol-powered Prototype. They reached 459 km/l at the first attempt, a long way short of their 2,211.3 km/l runner-up performance in 2014. Teacher and advisor Narongdech Keeratipranon was unconcerned, and even a burst tyre on Friday had failed to dampen spirits. “Everything's on plan. No big trouble,” he said.

The battery electric Prototype from Thailand’s Rattanakosin Technological College has shattered the team’s own 2014 top performance with a 333 km per kilowatt hour drive on their second attempt, up from 263.4 kWh/km last year.