One of the ultimate driving challenges for student-built cars returned to Singapore, with more than 120 teams from 18 countries in the Asia Pacific and Middle East gathered at the Changi Exhibition Centre for Shell Eco-marathon Asia.

The event culminated in the Shell Eco-marathon Drivers' World Championship, which awards the fastest and most energy-efficient vehicles.

Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia won the race and will fly to London to compete in Shell Eco-marathon Drivers' World Championship Grand Final against participants from Europe and the Americas on July 8.

Winning driver Tito Setyadi, 20, said: “We racked our brains to come up with something that would balance speed and energy efficiency like an average car driver and are very glad we managed to do so well.”

The second place winner, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember, and the third place winner, Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta, will also travel to London to compete in the Shell Eco-marathon Drivers' World Championship Grand Final.

The two categories

Shell Eco-marathon Asia had student teams competing in two vehicle categories: Prototype and UrbanConcept. In the Prototype category, drivers squeeze into aerodynamic vehicles, lying on their backs to steer around the 1.2km (0.7 mile) track.

In the UrbanConcept category, cars look more familiar to modern-day vehicles. Built to roadworthy specifications, their extra weight may make them less fuel-efficient than Prototype cars, but they are still able to achieve impressive results to modern-day vehicles.

It is from this category that the best-of-the-best qualify to compete in the regional Drivers’ World Championship. This years competition was fierce as 51 teams – a mix of internal combustion engine, battery electric, and hydrogen fuel cell cars – took part to become energy-efficiency-beating UrbanConcept contenders.

Prizes were also awarded to participants in the Prototype category. The best mileage record for the Internal Combustion Engine category was 2,341.1km/l (1454.6 miles) by Panjavidhya1 from Thailand’s Panjavidhya Technological College. The team beat last year’s record of 2,288.9 km/l (1,422.2 miles/litre).

Other winners in the same category included Team HuaQi-EV from Guangzhou College of South China University of Technology in China, which posted a result of 511.0km/kWh (317.5 miles/kWh) in the Battery-electric category and TP ECO FLASH, a team from Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore with a result of 404.3 km/m3 (251.2 miles/m3) in the Hydrogen category.

Awarding perseverance

Apart from the on-track awards, seven off-track awards recognised outstanding technical and creative skills, as well as their approach to safety and sustainability.

Team NUST Eco-motive from the National University of Sciences and Technology in Pakistan were awarded the Perseverance and Spirit of the Event award for donating their car parts to 20 other teams after their vehicle failed to pass technical inspection.

Shanna Simmons, Shell Eco-marathon Global Technical Director, said: “Shell Eco-marathon Asia showcased the best in innovation, collaboration and team spirit. Critical thinking and a sound strategy are needed to win the Drivers’ World Championship. We saw amazing action and my congratulations goes to all the teams.”

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