PUTRAJAYA: The inaugural Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2010 is not about a race on foot, neither is it about who gets to the finish line first.
It is a challenge for university students to build an energy-saving and efficient vehicle that can travel the furthest distance.
Shell Malaysia chairman Mohd Anuar Taib said the event had received overwhelming response from 85 teams from 11 countries in the region.
Of the number, 19 teams are from local universities.
Contestants could opt to use either traditional fuel or alternative sources like hydrogen or solar for their vehicles.
"It does not matter if you receive fuel subsidy or not," he said in jest at a special showcase of the Malaysian contingent here yesterday.
"We want the Sepang International Circuit (FIC) as a test pad to see how far a litre of fuel could take you in such vehicles, not just as a venue for fast racing cars.
"This competition is benchmarked against foreign counterparts who have shown breakthroughs in courageous experiments with technology and science."
Higher Education Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Zulkefli A. Hassan said the best Malaysian team would be awarded a challenge trophy and RM10,000 cash.
"The challenge is also about having a teamwork spirit and, ultimately, unity as multiple strengths need to be sought.
"Such partnerships are important to propel our education system to greater heights," Zulkefli said.
He also said local varsities participating in the contest had to look for their own sponsors as the whole idea was to make them more independent.
This should not deter them from putting their best efforts to design, promote and build what could be the world's most energy-efficient vehicle.
The Shell Eco-marathon which began in 1939 as a friendly wager between scientists in the United States shifted to Europe as organised competition for fuel economy expanded.
Read more: 85 teams to race with 1 litre of fuel http://www.nst.com.my/articles/21eco/Ar ... z0pkbbMerC
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