Passion, pride and family history
Thirty years of technological innovation and once-in-a-lifetime experiences mark a significant milestone in one of the most challenging engineering student competitions, Shell Eco-marathon Europe. And all-time winners from Microjoule La Joliverie show that the passion runs in the family: uncle and nephew joined the French team to push the boundaries of energy efficiency.
1985 – 2015: 30 years of passion and innovation
It was race day, May 1985. The team was motivated. Victory was in their sights. And then 'bang!', the car wouldn't start. What a disaster. A year's work straight down the drain! Believe it or not, Dominique Guilloré has managed to wipe this recollection from his memory.
It's his nephew, Emmanuel Redor, who reminds him of it with a smile. Besides their family tie, they share a unique part of their history: Shell Eco-marathon and their team, Microjoule by Lycée Saint-Joseph Joliverie, near Nantes in France.
Efficiency that runs in the family
Now, 29 years later, the nephew has managed to succeed where the uncle once failed. Redor won Shell Eco-marathon Europe with his unbeatable Prototype vehicle, achieving a record-breaking 3,350 kilometres on one litre of gasoline.
A great deal has changed in Shell Eco-marathon during the last 30 years. The Prototype vehicle that in 1985 was made from wood and couldn’t even go for a run, today is made from carbon fibre and hits incredible energy-efficiency records.
Two other constants also remain. Firstly, the teacher, who endeavoured to set up team Microjoule and start the programme for Shell Eco-marathon at La Joliverie back in 1985: Philippe Maindru.
Human adventure, passion and know-how
"Team Microjoule is his life's work; it's his baby. He's the one who's carried everything from the start and who spurs every student on to outdo and push themselves", comments Guilloré, who was one of Maindru's first students in 1985.
His nephew adds: "Maindru shows us the benefits of saving energy. What's more, his knowledge and know-how allow us to progress and push ourselves further. His personality encourages a collective mentality, which he's made last for 30 years".
"What's really interesting in the Shell Eco-marathon challenge is the pride of seeing our theoretical course applied to the race. It's clearly a professional springboard", stresses Redor. His uncle recalls the huge pride he felt back in 1985 when his teacher Maindru entrusted them with the task of working on the world's smallest injector, that of the Microjoule Prototype vehicle.
Beyond the passion and enthusiasm the Microjoule team members – those of 1985 and 2015 – feel for energy-efficiency and performance, it is human adventure that actually embodies this competition that the uncle and nephew put their souls into.
That is the essence of this experience. Participating in Shell Eco-marathon is above all a human adventure, combining passion and know-how.
Emmanuel Redor recalls with emotion the exchanges at the campsite with members of the other teams from Turkey, the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe. He also remembers the parties after the race. He says these moments will be engraved in his memory for a long time to come. These moments that bring together learning about life, pushing your limits, having pride in having led a project well, and also having been able to work in a strong collective of 50 people.
With some 30 years of differences, Dominique Guilloré and his uncle are in agreement. "The best part is before the race, the chance to work in a team, and the desire to keep on improving the vehicle", says Guilloré. He recalls a party too, the human adventure, and the evening prior to the race. It was very (or perhaps, too) festive, which could perhaps explain why the Prototype vehicle failed to start in 1985... Guilloré admits:
"In 1985 there was a party before the race and the car wouldn't start. In 2015, we will try to win the race and have fun afterwards." There's no stopping change.