Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Team Philippines test run their cars for Shell Eco-marathon Asia

The first Philippine delegation to the inaugural Shell Eco-marathon (SEM) Asia 2010 held their first test run recently at the Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC) to simulate actual race conditions at the Sepang Circuit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where the competition will be held in July.

SEM is Shell’s flagship event championing fuel economy. It is about distance, not speed. The competition challenges student teams to design and build energy-efficient vehicles that travel the farthest distance using the least amount of fuel.

With nearly a month to go before SEM, the three Philippine teams from Don Bosco Technical College, Mapua Institute of Technology and University of Santo Tomas make the final touches on their vehicle entries as they gear up for the competition.

Mapua’s Atalanta zooms

Under the scorching summer heat, the members of Team Atalanta from Mapua Institute of Technology immediately engaged to work to assemble their car, trying to recoup lost time as they lost their way to the Batangas Racing Circuit. After a couple of hours, the car zoomed away from the paddock and swiftly glided on the track.

Everyone cheered, seeing the car move away to conquer lengths of the track, but some engine trouble made the exalting mood of the team to dip. Despite the disappointing start, team members worked together to rev up the car with their godfather and former Country Chairman of Shell companies in the Philippines Eli Santiago, at the helm. The next hours had been filled with frustrations for the team as the car had been acting up until the last hour for the test run. At exactly 4:10 in the afternoon, the car gave a rousing engine sound and zoomed away without stopping. Lap after lap, the car showed might and strength with speed reaching a high of 42 kph.

The day ended with threadbare wheels, and it only meant success for Team Atalanta. With the experience and insights they gained from test run, Team Atalanta is definitely fired up for the SEM Race.

Don Bosco students take Grigio for a spin

With speed reaching over 40kph, Grigio stands proud at the BRC as mechanical engineering students from Don Bosco Technical College took their vehicle entry to the Shell Eco-marathon Asia for its first test run.

The team has been tirelessly working on their entry since early this year and has been successful in their attempt to build a prototype energy-efficient vehicle. Tagged as "Grigio", the vehicle is named after their school’s patron saint John Bosco's guardian dog.

After a few fine-tuning and some minor adjustments, the team was all set to try their vehicle on BRC's 3.4 kilometre long track with five exhilirating turns.

The team was in high spirits as Team Grigio's resident driver Angelo Blanco drove the vehicle smoothly along BRC's track. After the test run, the team concluded that there were some parts that need to be aligned and secured but all in all, Grigio is all set to race and conquer Malaysia's Sepang Intenational Circuit.

With Grigio's impressive speed and efficiency on the track coupled with the team's remarkable enthusiasm, camaraderie and appetite to win, Don Bosco is determined to be the dark horse in the competition.

"We are ready," said Don Bosco godfather and former Shell Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) Manager Nards Ablaza who has nothing but praises for his team. He is very optimistic that Grigio will impress the other teams at the competition.

UST’s Tiger 400 roars

Upon arrival of the car's body, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) SEM Engineering Team laboriously worked on assembling their car 'Tiger 400' from scratch, carefully putting all the parts together. By filling up with an initial 100ml of Shell fuels for testing, the team revved up the engine to test the car's performance. The team's mechanics fine-tuned the car to get the right rpm (revolutions per minute) and test its fuel efficiency early on.

When Tiger 400 was all set, driver Richard Ching Lao positioned himself to test-drive the car. Unfortunately, the first attempt at the racetrack didn't conquer much length as the engine stalled. With sheer determination and passion to make Tiger 400 succeed, the mechanics worked once again to perfect some adjustments in the engine, ensuring that the combustion of the fuel-air mix is just right. The overcast sky did not dampen the team's spirits as everyone decided to give it another try.

After a couple of minutes, Tiger 400 is back once again on the racetrack. This time around, Richard onboard Tiger 400 covered a few hundred metres of the track that sent the rest of the team cheering. Getting the hang of it, he manoeuvred Tiger 400, paced back and forth, this time with its engine smoothly running. Team Leader and alternate driver Tim Mervin Orille also took Tiger 400 for a spin.

The experience at the racetrack inspired the UST Engineering Shell Eco-marathon Team to shape up Tiger 400 in time for the actual competition in Malaysia.

All set for SEM Asia

With all three vehicle entries finally up and running, the first Philippine delegation to the Shell Eco-marathon Asia are ready to compete with over a hundred teams from 12 countries to set a new world record on the ultimate fuel-efficiency challenge.

For more information on the Shell Eco-marathon, please visit www.shell.com/ecomarathon.

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