To the untrained eye, these kooky looking cars may seem like life-size recreations from the classic children’s cartoon, Wacky Races, but these same cars could be on the fast lane to the future.

They’re all part of the Shell Eco-marathon, a global student competition to design, build and compete ultra-energy-efficient vehicles. And, for the first time in 30 years, it arrives in London as part of Make The Future London.

Teams are divided into two classes: the Prototype class focuses on maximum efficiency (with passenger comfort taking a back seat), while the UrbanConcept class encourages more practical designs.

 

A friendly wager

The roots of this yearly spectacle of innovation began in 1939 in Illinois, USA, with a wager between Shell scientists to see who could drive their car furthest on a single gallon of fuel. Back then, the winner managed a distance of 59.7 mpg. But with each successive year, results have raced ahead.

Today, teams compete to see just how far they can drive on the equivalent of one litre of fuel. The current record stands at 3,771km –enough to take you from London to Rome and back again!

 

Drivers' World Championship

2016 adds an exciting new twist to the Shell Eco-marathon story. For the first time in its 30-year history, the world’s best UrbanConcept teams will compete in a direct head to head race to find out who is the most energy-efficient driver. The competition takes place on Sunday July 3, 2016, and is set to be one of the highlights of the tournament.

 

Start your engines

With so much history behind it, the big question is: Will there be a new record in 2016? It’s a question that will be answered at Make The Future London. So why not get your free tickets and see for yourself in June!

MORE IN MAKE THE FUTURE INITIATIVES

The Schools programme

Get your school involved in Make the Future Live – a four day festival of ideas and innovation hosted by Shell in London, in spring 2017

Make the Future Live

Make the Future Live, a festival of ideas and innovation featuring Shell Eco-marathon Europe, will be returning to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from May 25 – 28, 2017. Register for your free tickets now.