TEAM GREEN Eco-marathon vehicle - 6603 miles per gallon
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5448mpg petrol at Mallory Park 2012

Most of the team arrived at Mallory Park around 4pm on Monday, set up awnings/tents etc, and then put the vehicle in the pit area. We set up the dyno etc, and managed to get the vehicle part scrutineered before having some food around 7-8pm. Both Frances and Jenny (the drivers) arrived after that and we set up more tents. We made some further preparations on the vehicle ready for the next day.

The following morning we completed the scrutineering with driver egress, mirrors and horn etc ready for safe operation on the track. We also carried out some brief engine testing with the competition fuel before setting out for our first run.

The weather on Monday was great, but during the night things became unsettled and cooler and rather annoyingly for us there was a heavy shower 2 laps into our first run. The ability of the driver to see through the windscreen is poor at the best of times because of the shallow angle let alone when it is raining. Usually the drivers are ok to stay out in light rain but as it was heavier Frances decided to pull in at the end of the 2nd lap.

Jenny did the second run (her first ever at Mallory Park) and achieved 4641mpg. This slightly low result was due in part to her inexperience of the particular track, and also due to the tyre pressures being on the conservative side. We usually try to get a safe banker run in first before taking more risks.

Armed with this result we pumped the tyres up a little and Frances did her second run. Getting the driving strategy right is extremely difficult to do especially when the wind is unpredictable. Basically we do 2 burns up the hill on the start/finish straight each lap (we go in an anti-clockwise direction!). Any variation in the burns or wind conditions can easily upset the average speed.  This run had around 110 seconds to spare and resulted in 5068mpg.

Learning from Frances experience, Jenny then tried a slight change to the burn start speed and we achieved our best result of 5448mpg.

Frances then tried a different idea to reduce the burns on alternate laps, but she found this tricky and the 4760mpg result suggested this was not the best strategy.

Thanks once again go to the sponsors who have supported us over the years. During the year leading up the event I have had the support of a final year student Nathan Morgan, who has been re-examining the fuel preparation of the engine, and although the vehicle gave very similar results to 2011 we hope that there is further performance to be gained next year. I am very grateful for the work that Nathan has contributed towards the project.

I am also grateful for a second student Sam Lock who looked at ways to analyse the data logged during runs on the track.

5420mpg petrol at Mallory Park 2011

It is with great sadness to many of the UK competitors of the Shell Eco-Marathon event that Shell decided not to continue supporting the UK event after 2010. The intention is that teams would travel to the European event from the UK to continue competing.
As a team that supported the European event twice (in 2004 & 2006), we know only too well the cost of doing this is well out of the reach of most of the teams. Shell do provide some money for fuel costs to get to the event, but there are significant other costs including ferry prices, food tickets and accomodation.
The UK Eco-Marathon has become a brilliant event for introducing young minds to the practical world of engineering and it is a severe loss for all the enthusiasm and hard work to be lost with the seemingly inevitable closure of the event.
Following a period of disbelief that Shell would do such a thing, one of the competitors in particular has refused to accept the death of the event. He has more or less single handedly managed to rally some very limited financial support to keep the event going on a reduced scale at Mallory Park.
All of the teams that took part on the event at Mallory are extremely grateful to Rik for his enthusiasm and hard work in making the event happen.
We did little development to the Team Green vehicle during the year following the uncertainty of the event, but we were very pleased to attend the new event entitled Eco-Marathon for Schools.
The last time Eco-Marathon vehicles had ventured on the circuit at Mallory Park was back in 1996, we were all keen to explore the circuit and work out a suitable driving strategy.
Frances managed 5 runs in total, with results ranging from 4036mpg to our best of 5420mpg. The event was very friendly and involved many volunteers who all helped to make it a great success.

5575mpg petrol (Best UK, 5th overall) and 5597mpg LPG (Best LPG, 4th overall) at Rockingham 2010

As usual the build up to the event resulted in the lack of sleep from many late nights preparing the vehicle for the competition, but these were forgotten about as soon as we arrived at the impressive race circuit on Monday evening. The tents were soon erected and the vehicle and dynamometer were set up in the pits ready for scrutineering first thing on Tuesday morning.
This enabled us to be the first team to be scrutineered and the  vehicle passed as usual without any problems. We were then given some official petrol to be used for our testing and the measured runs. For some reason that was not entirely clear, we found that the engine did not run very well on this fuel on the dyno and there was a severe flat spot around the engine speed that is used when the clutch is biting during acceleration. Initially we spent some time experimenting with different ignition timings and fuel settings but with limited success. We also went through a long series of checks to make sure that nothing else was causing the problem. After some time and a slight improvement we decided to see how the vehicle would perform on the track and so Jenny carried out 4 test laps. She found that although the engine picked up really slowly that she was able to do the burns that she wanted to.

On this basis Frances our other driver went out for a measured run, but because it was her first time driving the vehicle for 2 years she took a few laps to adjust back into the routine. This meant that at one point she needed to catch up about  5 minutes! Amazingly she managed to do this and came in just 2 seconds within the alloted 40 minute time restriction, but sadly it was a very poor run and we achieved just 3569 miles per gallon. Following some more adjustments Jenny went out for another run and she achieved our best petrol run for the 2 days with 5575 miles per gallon. The  vehicle still struggled to get off the line so we thought that there was still potential for improvement and after the barbecue provided by Shell we set about further investigation into the problem using the dyno.

We decided that because the vehicle had achieved over 5000 mpg, the engine health could not be too bad so we checked the clutch operation and transmission. This did not reveal anything new, neither did various tests on the dyno, so we turned our minds from the flat spot to an idea that we had originally wanted to try involving a different style fuel injector. With the help of Rob Dunn a final year student who had been working on improving the fuel atomisation during the year, we adjusted the fuel map to suit the flow characteristics of the new injector. Sadly testing showed the same flat spot problem was still there, and perhaps even worse. As it was a new injector we then varied the overall fuel scaling factor in steps of around 5%, trying it each time. Just as we were about to give up, the engine started to respond favourably to the extra fuel and so we went on until at an additional 39% fuel enabled the engine to start strongly without any flat spot. It did however stall at just over 2000rpm where the mixture became too strong.

With this breakthrough we then locally increased the fuel map by around 39% during the clutch operating range and the engine pulled strongly right through the speed range. The time had now reached 11pm, so we decided to call it a day and apply the same local fuel richening to the normal injector the next morning. Various other minor adjustments and tweaks were made to improve the  vehicle rolling performance and then we queued up for the opening of the track at 9.30. During the Wednesday we managed 4 petrol runs, 1 of which was aborted and 2 full LPG runs. The weather like Tuesday was very hot, but more windy and so not quite as good for the results. The petrol results seemed to decline very gradually from the previous day, but the 2 LPG runs achieved 5505 mpg and 5597 mpg.

Our main lpg competition during the past few years has come from the French team Lycee Marcel Callo, and normally they seem to be able to beat us comfortably. However this year their best was around 5400 mpg so they were dismayed to see that we beat them for a change. This made us best LPG and gave us a silver cup which was very pleasant. We understand that Shell want to withdraw the LPG category next year, so we are looking at the possibility of running with Ethanol(E100) as well as petrol.

We have a significant amount of data recorded from the runs at  Rockingham and are in the process of trying to learn from it how we can improve the performance.  

The best overall result over 9000mpg (E100) was achieved by the French team from TIM INSA GM and the second (6000+ mpg) by the Portugese team Eco Veiculo from Universidade de Coimbra. There was one more French team with 5644mpg leaving us with 4th and 5th overall which we are very pleased about. 

Thanks once again go to the sponsors who have supported us over the years and particularly to the 2 final year students Alex Wolstenholme and Robert Dunn who carried out their final year projects on the vehicle. Alex was using an engine simulation package to improve the engine performance and Robert was using visualisation techniques to improve the atomisation of the fuel delivery system.

5755mpg petrol(Best UK) and 4705.mpg LPG (Best UK) at Rockingham 2009- July 2009

As usual we arrived at Rockingham the evening before the test day and set up tents and the vehicle in the pits. The next morning after an early start we managed to get through the various scrutineering checks and were out on the track testing by about 10.30am on Tuesday 30th June.

Conditions were very warm throughout the day and our poor driver Jenny suffered temperatures in the mid 40s inside the cockpit. Following a couple of test runs when we were able to cycle along side the vehicle, we went on to the competitive runs from 2pm. Our first run actually gave us the best run of the 2 days and we achieved 5755.2mpg consuming just 5.6 grams of petrol. This put us straight into first place overall until a French team pipped us with 5782mpg using LPG. The following day came with more humid weather and at times it was unbearable, especially for Jenny who did not complain at all.
Unfortunately our results did not improve and a Portuguese team put in a run of 6500mpg with petrol taking the overall lead. We tried to respond to their result but it seemed that the vehicle just was not rolling well enough. I think in hinds sight that the front brakes probably were rubbing slightly. We tried a single run with LPG but had some problems and only achieved 4705mpg. We then returned to petrol and gradually improved over the last 2 runs but did not beat our best from the first day. Obviously we are pleased to be the best UK team and third overall, but we ended the event feeling slightly frustrated that we had not beaten our previous best result.

Daniel managed to improve on his last year's result with 651 mpg so he was pleased with this. Once again without all of the sponsorship help none of this would have been possible, so I thank you on behalf of the team.

6030mpg petrol(Best UK) and 5776.mpg LPG (British Record) at Rockingham 2008 - July 2008

As in 2007 we chose to take the trailer instead of the caravan to maximise the carrying space. Daniel's vehicle - Team Greenhorn was fixed onto the trailer as well.
We managed to set off and arrive a little earlier than previously, which was useful in setting up the vehicles in the pits before they were closed for the night.

The work of preparing the vehicles for the scrutineering inspection continued early on the wednesday morning and by mid morning we were out on the track practising and getting used to the conditions. From 2.00pm we were able to try competitive runs and so Jenny went out on petrol. Frustratingly this was one of 3 runs when she was not able to complete a run. This time it was because the battery went flat on the 6th lap and she could not restart the engine. Confused as to why the battery had lost its charge, we carried on and Frances went out and completed her first competitive run successfully achieving 5574.8mpg in windy and drizzly conditions.

At 4.30pm Jenny then went out for her second run (this time with LPG), but again the battery ran flat on the last lap! The track then closed for the evening and we inspected the electrical circuit to find out why the battery was not lasting. There seemed to be no problem with the battery having enough charge to start the engine because we cranked it for about twice the number expected during a run without any issues, but on closer inspection we found that it was possible under certain circumstances for part of the ignition ciruit to be drawing current during coasting and consequently drain the battery. We enjoyed the now traditional barbecue provided by Shell and then we continued to work on the electrical system inserting an extra relay.

Daniel's vehicle had been successful during the day but the cycle computer had been set accidentally on the wrong wheel size setting giving an incorrect speed reading. This meant that it had been very difficult for him to achieve the minimum average speed. He also needed a replacement cycle freewheel which a friend helped him to get locally.

Again after an early start we prepared the vehicles for the second day, happier, knowing that we understood why Jenny's runs had failed, and that we had been able to make appropriate changes. The first driver on Thursday was Frances and she ran on LPG achieving 5139.8mpg despite the windy conditions. Jenny then began her third ill fated run which this time ended because another vehicle blocked her path, forcing her onto the grass beside the track. Understandably upset by the very poor driving of the other vehicle, Jenny was beginning to think that she was not going to be able to complete a run at all. Frances then completed the best run of the two days with 6030.8mpg using petrol with windy but bright conditions. As Jenny prepared to go out again there was a heavy short shower of rain that drenched the track This meant her results was lower as expected with 5046mpg. We then changed over to LPG again and completed our last two runs, beating out best ever LPG result - these were 5700.2mpg and 5776.2mpg. Perhaps it was only right that the better result was achieved by Jenny, after all her previous bad luck.

Amongst the 70+ entries were several international teams and the best of them TIM (INSA at Toulouse, France) achieved 9037.8mpg. We were 6th overall, 4th in the petrol category and 2nd in the LPG category. We are pleased that we have improved our best ever result at Rockingham, but are always hungry to do better. Daniel achieved a creditable 500.9mpg, which is also an improvement on his last attempt, so he is happy and enthusiastic to develop his vehicle.

Once again without all of sponsorship help none of this would have been possible, so I thank you on behalf of the team.

5958mpg petrol (Best UK) and 5030mpg LPG (British Record) at Rockingham 2007 - July 2007

As usual we set off for Rockingham on Tuesday afternoon as soon as the boys returned from school. This year we decided to take a trailer instead of the caravan to ensure we had sufficient carrying capacity.
As you know the weather the week before the event was not great and we set off wondering how we would fare. We arrived to find the ground very wet but it was reasonably warm. The main issue was the wind, which was rather gusty and quite strong. The wind has been one of our main enemies during recent years at Rockingham, playing havoc with the driving strategy.

We managed to set up the vehicle on the dyno in the pits ready for the practice day and got to bed at 11.30pm (the earliest for over 2 weeks ). With signing on at 8.30am and scrutineering at 9am we were up nice and early to prepare the vehicle and pump up tyres etc. The vehicle flew through the inspection without any problems and so we sorted things out for the first practice after 10am.

As soon as we started running on the track we could see that we were going to have difficulties with the blustery and changeable wind as in previous years. Frances was forced to make longer burns coming up the hill in order to ensure that the wind did not stop the vehicle from getting over the crest. Unfortunately our crystal ball looking was not up to scratch and we did not know when the wind was going to be a problem and when it was not. Frances first run used about 8.6cc of petrol which is equivalent to about 5000mpg. In addition to the wind problems there had been a slight change to the track near the pit lane entry, which meant further adjustment to the burn strategy. Jenny made the 2nd run and she consumed a similar amount of the fuel. We then made a few adjustments to tyre pressures and began our first competitive run after dinner, resulting in 5075mpg.
We then changed the strategy slightly and the second run gave us our best result 5958mpg. This was the best result we have achieved at Rockingham since the warm calm conditions of 2001 so we were very pleased. If only the wind have dropped we could have done considerably better. After the track was closed for the day we tidied things up and prepared for the next day, hopefully the weather might be a little better.

After a barbecue organised by Shell we had a number of things to sort out including the microphone connection for the radio. On the Thursday we queued early for the track and we managed to get 5 runs (each 40 minutes) in during the day with a change over of fuel system to LPG and back again. Each time the fuel was topped up and weighed accurately before and after the run to establish how much the engine had burned. Sadly the weather continued to be windy, and at some time various signs were blow over because of its strength.

During the day we achieved the following fuel consumptions 5266mpg & 5385mpg with petrol, and then 5030mpg with LPG, followed by 5784mpg and another 5385mpg. It was a shame that we could not better the Wednesday run and get over 6000mpg, but we had achieved our best at Rockingham in both fuels and our best ever in LPG. The 5958.9mpg result earned us 3rd best Petrol result and best UK team. Overall because we were competing against hydrogen and solar powered vehicles our overall position was 8th. Once again I would like to thank all of the sponsors you for the help they have provided over the years on this project.

5353mpg petrol (Best Overall) and 3696mpg LPG (Best LPG) at Alford - Aug 2006

We followed our normal pattern of driving up with vehicle on the roof rack and luggage in a trailer on the Thursday. Frances had booked a flight with BMI before the security problems with flying arose, but fortunately her flight on Friday was not affected much and she arrived just after lunch, allowing us to get some early practice with the steering around the track. We had adjusted the steering to allow for the tighter bends and we were pleased that we were able to adjust it back towards the setting for Rockingham allowing greater mechanical advantage for Frances. She was very happy with the steering and we were then able to concentrate on developing a suitable driving strategy for the new vehicle and trying to improve the performance.

On the official test day Saturday we carried out several runs despite rather poor weather. It was quite cold and there were very heavy showers. The problem with visibility came mainly from standing water on the outside, however Frances managed to keep going. Having gained experience on the track we turned our attention to testing the engine using the fuel provided on our dynamometer. This having been done we retired for the evening and enjoyed the traditional hospitality we have enjoyed each year with food and musical entertainment.

Following a good night's sleep and an early morning to make last minute preparations to the vehicle, we placed our vehicle on the start line first in line about 20 minutes before the driver briefing. The weather was rather cool all day with a few light showers. Our first run achieved 5031mpg, after which we increased the tyre pressures slightly. The second run achieved our best with 5353mpg and the third run only 5155mpg. The weather got rather cold during this 3rd run and it also rained - testing the visibility.

After dinner we changed to lpg and managed to get 3696mpg which again was not bad considering the low temperatures (<15degC). During the day our closest rivals Team Inspiration had technical problems and did not manage to get a run in. This meant that we were the overall winners. More importantly than coming first was the fact that we now know that we have a vehicle than can get results at Rockingham and Scotland, and we can concentrate on improving our performance rather than worrying if the steering is okay.

4306mpg petrol (Best UK) and 3333mpg LPG (Best LPG) at Rockingham 2006 - July 2006

During the time since the French Eco-Marathon event there has been a lot of effort spent examining the design of the steering mechanism, and developing it with increased mechanical advantage for the driver. Also damping has been added. Early tests shewed that the vehicle was much more driveable, although both drivers were very nervous and started off at low speeds, slowly building up to the speeds required of a normal run.

After the track was closed for the day we made final preparations for the next day and we also enjoyed a barbecue laid on by Shell. On the Thursday, after attending a drivers briefing we joined the queue for a measured run with a certain amount of caution and nervousness. Frances drove the first run and having slept on the growing success of the Wednesday she began the run as if things were back to normal. When Frances came in on her last lap within the required time we gave her a big cheer, we managed to get a result from the new vehicle.

The result of the first run was 4036.3 mpg, which whilst not near a previous best was a good starting point for future results. After a debriefing session between the two drivers, the pressure then was on Jenny to carry on. She too went out a drove as if there were no problems and achieved 4235.1mpg. We then made some adjustments to the fuel strength and Frances went out for her second run before dinner. This time the vehicle achieved the highest mileage, at 4306.7 mpg. While the team stopped for some sandwiches we changed the fuel system over to LPG. After the engine management system was reprogrammed for the change, Jenny drove in what turned out to be our last run and got a measured result of 3333mpg.

After measuring had taken place there was not enough time for us to make any more runs before the track was closed, but we were very happy having made 4 valid runs with the new vehicle and we waited to see how our results would compare with other teams. As you know a number of good foreign teams have been competing at Rockingham for a number of years now, and it will take a while for us to begin to catch them up, but we were pleased to record the highest result for a UK team, and 5th overall. Microjoule one of the top French team achieved 10127mpg. This was not their best result at Rockingham and this was probably because although it was very sunny and warm, it was also quite windy.

Team Green at French Eco-Marathon 2006 - May 2006

Developing a new vehicle is a time consuming exercie as many will appreciate. When a committment has been made to enter an event like the French event the pressure to complete it in time goes up exponentially as the date get closer. It had been hoped to enter the UK event before taking the new vehicle to France but things did not work our quite as planned.

The journey over to south France started on Tuesday (16th May) evening with a trip down to the ferry at Portsmouth. We met the drivers Jenny and Frances on the way and caught the overnight ferry to Caen. After a reasonable nights sleep we drove right down through France taking over 8 hours to do the 600 miles. The weather was very hot when we arrived and put up the tent at the campsite. After a broken night's sleep from a thunder storm we travelled to the nearby track at Nogaro.

During the Thursday morning we made some last minute adjustments to the vehicle and waited for the technical inspection checks to be carried out. Amazingly for a brand new vehicle we sailed straight through the checks with no problems. However as soon as we began testing on the track we knew that this luck would not continue. The vehicle has a radical form of steering, which involves the rear half of the vehicle pivoting around an axis behind the driver compartment. Unfortunately because of the time pressures, the vehicle had not been tested before setting off to France.

Sadly although we tried to improve the mechganism during the few days at Nogaro it was never going to be satisfactory and after rolling the vehicle at 20 mph we decided to retire. Right from the first test run by Jenny we reognised that there was insufficient feedback for the driver and that the mechanical advantage was too low to provide good control and it rolled onto its side.

Fortunately Frances who was driving at this point was unhurt, although rather shaken!! The vehicle suffered scratching to the paintwork and a few superficial cracks to the covers, but the main structural integrity was not compromised at all. Both drivers (and myself)were very impressed at the strength of the vehicle and the way it protected them.

6603mpg petrol (British Record) and 4953mpg LPG (British Record) at Alford 2005 - Aug 2005

As usual we transported the vehicle on the roof rack and carried the rest of the luggage on the car and trailer. Our journey to Scotland took 13 hours, starting at 3.20 in the morning and arriving near Aberdeen just after 4pm on Thursday afternoon.

We had decided to go up a day earlier than in previous years and the extra time was very helpful in two respects. Firstly we had more time to regain our energies after the long drive, and secondly our son Daniel was able to spend a day practicing on the track in his own vehicle. This vehicle (Team Greenhorn) is a simple 3 wheeler tricycle that has been made up in minimal time so that Daniel can also compete and enjoy the event.

During the Friday Daniel carried practiced on the track and gradually began to understand the principles behind getting the best fuel consumption from his vehicle. Although his vehicle has a rather large Suffolk Punch lawn mower engine on it that is running continuously he had great fun and achieved a creditable 251 mpg for his first ever attempt at an Eco-Marathon. We are obviously very pleased with him.

Later on the Friday, I collected Frances from the airport and we set up the Team Green vehicle in the marquee pits. On the official practice day (Saturday) we were able to prepare the vehicle for a run and to get out and complete it before dinner time. The circuit consists of a quarter of a mile oval shape similar to a running track. The measured distance of the 25 lap run is 6.335 miles in a minimum of 38 minutes and 8 seconds. The unofficially measured consumption of this first practice was 5900 mpg, which we were relatively pleased with as the temperature was a little cool.

At this point I left the rest of the team to have their dinner while I collected our second driver from the station at Aberdeen. Unfortunately for Jenny, the sleeper train that should have arrived at Aberdeen at 7.30am on Saturday had been delayed by fallen power lines and so she was about 5 and a half hours late. Despite this, Jenny was very cheerful and soon got to work in the vehicle with the second test run and we honed our burn and coast strategy.

We decided to end the day with a test run using lpg even though we did not have any scales to measure the fuel consumption. The engine ran smoothly and we double checked that the mixture strength was optimised before changing back to petrol for the morning. Saturday evenings are a time to relax at the Scottish eco-marathon and with plenty of excellent food and drink everyone was able to enjoy the hospitality, which included a barbecue, local music and a sing song.

First thing on the competition day it was rather chilly and so we began to warm up the engine early. We also checked the tyres and found some small pieces of granite that had stuck into the tyre surface, which we removed before they were forced right through the canvas to cause a puncture. Shortly after 9am the team managers and drivers were given a final briefing before the vehicles were allowed to begin officially measured runs.

Being a team with a vehicle that is capable of achieving greater than 5000 mpg the method for fuel measuring involves accurately weighing the fuel reservoir and injector before and after the run. This gravimetric method of fuel measuring is more accurate than the normal volumetric method because it takes into account any temperature variations or unseen air bubbles inside the injector. It is however more time consuming and so it is important to keep the engine warm using electrical heating during this process.

Our first run was carried out while it was still quite cool and we were pleased to achieve 5892 mpg. By the time Jenny started our second run the temperature had risen to 20 - 21 degrees C and the sun was shining brightly. This run proved to be the best using 4.61 cc of petrol for the 6.335 miles giving 6603 miles per gallon - beating the previous British record of 6387 mpg by Kings College in 1999. Very pleased with this result we decided that we should change over to LPG and try a run while the conditions were good to beat our best previous LPG result of 4805 mpg last year. Frances drove the vehicle and we were very pleased with the result of 4953 mpg (another best British result).

During the afternoon the weather cooled down marginally and a slight wind picked up before a few spots of rain arrived during the last couple of laps of our fourth and last run. The 2 runs achieved 6218 mpg and 6200 mpg respectively , both being better than previous years results. All in all as you can imagine we were very pleased with the results especially finally beating the British record.

Last year you remember that we were beaten by a whisker by another British team Inspiration in Scotland. At Rockingham they failed to complete a run with mechanical problems. At Alford also they had problems with the rear wheel and their best result was only 4024 mpg. Whilst we are very pleased to have won we would have preferred to beat them when their vehicle was running properly. Right to the very end of the event we could not be certain that they would not come out and put in a better run than ourselves. I understand that they are also going to build a new vehicle so again we cannot rest on our laurels.

4866mpg petrol (Best UK) and 3011 mpg LPG (Best LPG) at Rockingham 2005 - July 2005

As usual we set off to Rockingham with the vehicle on the roof rack and caravan behind. The rest of the equipment was carried in a separate car, and the two drivers made their own ways to the circuit near Corby.

We managed to establish the vehicle in the pit garage on the Tuesday evening when we arrived but then payed for that later by having to set up the caravan and awning in damp and windy conditions. On the Wednesday morning we signed on as early as we could,passed scrutineering and attended the driver briefing session. After this we carried out 2 practice runs to fine tune the burn and coast strategy. It soon became clear that the windy conditions were going to require longer burns than the ideal. This was born out the 10.5cc fuel used for 10 miles, (our best being 8.55cc in 2001).

Following the 2 practice runs we then took time to run the engine on a passive dynamometer in the pits. This enabled us to further tune the fuel mixture strength for economy using the actual fuel that had been provided. Armed with this improved fuel map we started the first of our official measured runs. Measuring of the fuel by the officials is done by a gravimetric (weighing) method as well as by volume. This can be quite time consuming because the fuel reservoir and injector is taken from the vehicle before and after the run and weighed accurately in controlled conditions.

During the first run the vehicle performed well as usual, but for some reason the signal from the timing transponder was weak. This lead to a delay in the timekeepers confirmation that the run had been completed within the allowed time (and was therefore valid). The measured fuel consumption actually turned out to be the best of the 2 days with 4866 miles per gallon. The delay and the longer fuel measuring meant that we had precious little time to complete a second run before the track closed for the day. Consequently the second run that we had hoped to do with LPG had to be done with petrol and we did not know until half way through the run that the run would be allowed to finish. The result of this second run was 4528 mpg.

Following this run we changed the fuel system over to LPG ready for the first run the next morning. This we hoped to achieve early because Michael Schumacher and Reubens Barrichello were going to visit the pit garages and we had been asked to be there to answer any questions as the leading UK team. As it turned out they ran out of time and we simply nodded to them as they walked past the vehicle. The whole of Thursday was interspersed with heavy showers of rain and because of the speed of the tyres in the water, a lot of energy was spent picking up water. The results sadly demonstrated this with the first lpg run at 3011mpg and a second at 2815mpg.

We could see that other teams were having similar problems with the weather, and we knew that these results were likely to give us the best lpg result overall so we then changed back to petrol and completed 3 more runs in the deteriorating conditions. They achieved 4370, 4400 and 4020mpg.

The overall winners were Microjoule who achieved 8264mpg compared to their best at Rockingham of 10705 mpg. There were about 11 foreign teams and we were pleased to achieve 4th place overall, beating 3 French teams that have beaten us previously in the French Eco-Marathon event. It was good to see that we had managed to cope better with the bad weather than others had done. Inspiration, the UK team that beat us in Scotland last year had a lot of problems with their management system and were not able to complete any runs at all. Whilst this made it easier for us to achieve best UK entry we must not forget the potential of their vehicle in the future.

Our minds now turn towards the Scottish Eco-Marathon event from 21-22 August and we hope to return to consumption figures in excess of 6000. As always we are indebted to the support that all the sponsors have given us, and we hope that you are pleased with our efforts.

5938mpg petrol (2nd Overall) and 4805mpg LPG (Best LPG) at Alford 2004- Aug 2004

As normal we traveled up to Reading to collect one of the team members. Early Friday morning (3.30am!) we set off with a trailer in tow and the eco-marathon vehicle on the roofrack. We found it very satisfying to stop for breakfast in Scotland at the Gretna Green services, before we carried on the long trek up to Aberdeen and the Grampian Transport Museum at Alford. We arrived at the track at 4pm having shared the 12 and a half hour driving between 2 of us. As you can imagine apart from putting up tents, collecting Frances the driver from the airport and setting out the vehicle in the pits we did not have much energy for anything else.

On the Saturday we prepared the vehicle for scrutineering, and following a successful inspection we started a number of practice runs. The weather was rather mixed and we had some heavy showers to contend with, together with a cool wind. We measured a couple of the runs on Saturday to get an idea of the fuel consumption and were not overly impressed with the results (approx. 5500mpg) compared to our previous years result of 6198mpg, but felt it probably was due to poor weather conditions. We spent some time in the evening improving the engine insulation ready for the next day and then enjoyed a barbecue laid on by the organisers.

The following morning we were anxious to get out and start our runs early so that we could fit in our petrol and lpg quota. We enjoyed the space on the track that goes with the first vehicle out for several laps before other teams joined us. Each run takes over 38 minutes for the 25 laps of the small circuit and so we waited as Frances completed the distance before we could have the fuel measured. Sadly the measured mpg was worse than on Saturday (5264mpg), but it was a result that we could build on. We made a slight change to the fuelling and then went our for our second run, which achieved a slightly better 5575mpg.

During this run we became alerted to the fact that one of the other UK teams was challenging us, because Team Inspiration had managed to achieve 5217mpg in their first run. Normally in Scotland we very comfortably achieve the best UK team position and so it came as rather a surprise that they should be near us. Because of the effort that had been spent making changes to the vehicle during the early part of the year to satisfy the French Eco-Marathon regulations,(most of these not aiding the performance of the vehicle), we had not had the time to prepare for Scotland in the normal way.

Team Inspiration came onto the scene several years ago and has always looked a good vehicle with potential, however it has been dogged with reliability issues and only recently have the team begun to get things together. Following our 2nd result Team Inspiration achieved their 2nd result of 5541mpg, just 34 behind us. When we had our fuel measured after the 2nd run we noticed that there was a wet film of petrol on the bottom of the reservoir fitting. On closer inspection we could see that the tap had been leaking petrol during the run. Unfortunately the design of tap which incorporates a tapered plastic piece inside a matching tapered glass tube is not intended to be run at the 3-4 bar pressure required to operate the injector. This particular reservoir is one that we had to get from Shell to comply with the French regulations. We had similar problems before when we were at Nogaro where we were able to exchange it for another reservoir.

Clearly losing petrol through a leak is the last thing you want when you are measuring fuel consumption. Over lunch work was done to try to stop the leak occurring, and we also made some changes to tyre pressures and wheel bearing lubrication hoping for better results. As we lined up for the next run however, the fuel started leaking again and we had to make the decision to change the reservoir to the one we had been using before the French Eco-Marathon. Time was ticking away and we had little time to do this, otherwise we would not be able to carry out a lpg run. Because of this it was not possible to be certain that we had been able to completely purge all the air from the system, and we believe that there may well have been some in the injector.

The result of this 3rd run was indeed better at 5938mpg but perhaps not as high as it should have been. Shortly after our result was known Team Inspiration was measured at 5964mpg just 26mpg more than our result- very frustrating! Putting this behind us, we changed over to lpg and were able to fit in the 1 run before the track was closed. This was measured at 4805mpg which was 300mpg better than our result last year, and seemed to show that the vehicle had improved since last year even though the petrol result had been inconclusive.

Clearly it was shock to be beaten by another UK team, having been the best UK team each year from 2000, but it shows how much hard work needs to be put into the project all the time if the advantage is to be maintained. We would like to congratulate Team Inspiration on their success, I think the competition between our 2 teams will drive us on to make a greater challenge for the foreign teams.

5296mpg petrol (Best UK) and 3683mpg LPG (Best LPG) at Rockingham 2004- July 2004

On Tuesday afternoon we set off for Rockingham a little later than we had hoped, because of some last minute jobs that needed attention. Other members of the team arrived from their respective homes and we set up camp just outside the grandstands on turn 4 of the circuit.

Early the next morning we moved all the equipment and vehicle to the pits and readied ourselves for signing on at 8.30 and scrutineering at 9.00. As usual scrutineering at Rockingham went very smoothly for us and very soon we were passed as ok and then went to have our fuel system capacity measured. The reason for this is so that temperature compensation adjustments can be made later on. It is amazing just how much petrol will expand when heated up by only a few degrees. Clearly this change in volume can significantly affect the fuel measurement. The temperature is measured before the run, after the run and also the temperature of the added fuel is measured. The volumes are then adjusted so that the amount consumed is corrected to 20 degrees C. Fuel consumption is also measured by accurately weighing the fuel system before and after the run.

We then prepared for our first practice run and Frances went out to acclimatise herself to the task in hand. A couple of laps later I joined her on the track with a bicycle to experience for myself the conditions of the track and the best positions to bun the engine. Cycling is only allowed for practice runs in the morning of Wednesday and is not something that I have been able benefit from in previous years. I quickly learnt how difficult it was to keep up with Frances for a prolonged period of time at 15 mph. I also noticed that the track did have small bumps in it and the rear engine cover was rattled up and down as the vehicle went over them at speed.

The main thing that I learned was how windy it was for the vehicle as it went round turn 4 towards the pit straight. This wind which seemed to get stronger and more blustery as the day went on caused significant problems for our burn strategy. Normally on a windless day we would burn twice during the lap and then the vehicle would coast slowly over the highest portion of the track. However with the variable wind conditions this speed varied enormously and sometimes the vehicle would have even stopped altogether. For this reason Frances was forced to opt to burn longer on the second burn to try and ensure that the vehicle did make it over the hill. As a consequence of this, the resulting fuel consumption was not very good and the average speed of the vehicle was significantly over 15mph.In addition to this the higher speed that we carried over the pit straight "hill" then meant that the vehicle overtook more vehicles than normal on the way down the other side, and Frances was forced to take a much wider and longer line around the track.

Other teams were obviously affected by the wind as well, however the heavier vehicles would have been less affected by the blustery conditions than the lighter vehicles, and probably had to do 3 burns to get over the hill anyway. As you can imagine it was very frustrating to know that although the vehicle was capable of better results, we were never likely to be able to achieve them in those adverse conditions. During the Wednesday teams were allowed to carry out 2 measured runs in the afternoon, and so at 1.30 we queued for our first petrol run. Apart from the high average speed the run went successfully and we achieved a fuel consumption of 5036 mpg. As time was passing by we decided to do a LPG run to get a result in the bag. However this was not to be, as the rear tyre developed a slow puncture and by lap 5 the vehicle's ability to roll was impaired too much to continue.

Shortly after this track was closed for the day and we spent a couple of hours trying to refine the fuel map for LPG and petrolon the GEMS engine management system ready for the next day. On Thursday the weather seemed bright in the morning but again it was very breezy and the wind did not know quite which way to blow. Our problems of fuel consumption performance continued and we achieved 4558 & 4841mpg in petrol and 3683mpg LPG. The best run was the last for the day when the wind dropped slightly and there was less traffic on the circuit, and Frances drove the vehicle at 5296 mpg.

Our final result then was 5296mpg in petrol which was the 4th best performance overall and best UK result. The best overall was achieved by Microjoule from France which managed 9737mpg. Like us they suffered from the wind and their result was down on their previous performance of 10705mpg. We managed to retain our title of best LPG result with 3683mpg which was an improvement on our previous year (3113mpg). Although we found it disappointing that we were not able to better our best petrol result, it was good to be able to come away with the LPG trophy once again.

4585mpg petrol (13th of 218 entries) at Nogaro 2004 - May 2004

After a great deal of hard work and late hours preparing the vehicle for the French regulations, we set off on Tuesday (11th May) evening to the ferry at Portsmouth with the vehicle on the roof rack and a trailer with equipment behind.

We met Jenny the reserve driver at the train station from Oxford, and boarded the 22:45 ferry to Le Havre. After a short sleep on the ferry we set about the long car journey down to Nogaro, which took about 12 hours on the autoroute!! Fortunately Martin, my father in law and I shared the driving and we both had chances to rest our eyes while the other one drove.

When we got close to Nogaro the weather deteriorated into rain and apparently it had been very wet during the day. We quickly put up the tent on soft ground and went to find something to eat in Nogaro. On Thursday morning we signed on at the track after a delay and then set up in the pits, and prepared for the scrutineering at 4.30pm to Thursday.

Although we were nervous about the French rules, the scrutineering went very smoothly and we had nothing to do to the vehicle except fit a cable tie. For the remainder of Thursday and Friday we practiced on the track, trying to work out the best burning times for the engine. This was quite difficult because the track has about 14 bends on it and several uphill and downhill slopes. Normally when we compete we find that it is best to adopt the strategy with the smallest number of burns on a circuit, and as we were able to go around with only three burns we carried on with this strategy, and were able to achieve the higher average speed required for Nogaro (30km/hr).

The regulations in the french event do not allow us to use the better Michelin radial tyres unless we have proved the previous year that we can finish in the top 15 results, so we had to use the Michelin crossply tyres. We found out immediately that the 446MHz radios that we had bought for the event were not very good and we could only communicate reliably for a short distance along the start line straight. This proved to be quite a handicap and the learning process for burning strategy was quite slow as it was left to the driver to experiment on their own. On Saturday we were keen to get a banker run, from which we could experiment, and so we went out during the morning and achieved our first run of 1431 km/l (4042mpg). We then waited until the temperature warmed up a bit more and took our second try after lunch. This run achieved our best result of 1623km/l (4585mpg).

During the Saturday we had talked with a few other teams and we discovered that most of the other teams had adopted and different strategy involving 4 shorter burns. So we spent the rest of Saturday examining what others were doing and trying formulate a better strategy for ourselves that we could do without any further practicing. After a very enjoyable evening meal accompanied by the local Nogaro brass band we spent the evening studying vehicle speeds, to work out an appropriate 4 burn strategy. On Sunday we waited a little later in the day for the warmer air and track before Frances tried our third run with the new strategy. Unfortunately however, although the result was better than Frances result the previous day it was not quite as good as Jenny's run. Because the results was not massively increased I felt that we should be a little more radical in our approach and so we pumped the tyres up another 10psi and reduced the fuelling setting on the Engine Management system for our last run. Jenny then went out and everything was looked good for the first 5 laps, until sadly the tyre burst and she came to a halt!! I believe that she would have done better on that run, however it was not to be. I believe the tyre was weakened because we did not have enough room to take the trolley that we normally take. The trolley allows us to lift the vehicle off the ground instead of having to roll it across the rough surface between the pit tents and the track.

Our final result of 1623 km/l (4585 mpg) was 13th out of 218 teams from 16 different countries, which we are reasonably pleased with. It would have been nice to achieve a slightly higher result and got in the top 10 but with the higher average speed than in the UK and the cross ply tyres I think the result is as expected. Teams who compete in Rockingham and Nogaro normally achieve between 75 - 80% of their Rockingham performance at Nogaro because of the higher average speed and difficult track. The event was very enjoyable and we were made to feel at home by the French, but we could not quite get used to their very noisy behaviour. It seems that they very rarely go to sleep at night, there were all night parties in many of the team pit areas and it was extremely noisy with loud noise and shouting virtually all the way through the night. I think on average that I got about 2.5 hours sleep each night!! With a small team of 4 people we really needed to get all the sleep we could, so we found it quite difficult to appreciate all the noise. It is a shame that we were not able to run the vehicle in both the petrol and lpg classes in France, because we would have been able to show how flexible we are and be able to come 2nd in the lpg as well as 10th in the petrol class.

As usual we are very grateful for the support from the sponsors shown towards the project over the years and hope that we can continue to improve the vehicle performance to match the foreign teams. It is frustrating to see the high level of funding and resources that many of these other teams have at their disposal, but we will carry on trying to look at ways to improve the vehicle.

6198mpg petrol (Best UK) and 4504mpg LPG (Best LPG) at Alford 2003 - Aug 2003

As usual the long trek up to Aberdeen began by us taking the vehicle and a trailer over to Reading on the Thursday evening ready for an early start on Friday morning at 4 am. We had breakfast at Gretna Green services and dinner just north of Edinburgh, arriving at Alford at about 5.30pm. After putting up tents and setting out the vehicle in the pits we were only too keen to get some sleep, ready for the practise session on Saturday.

Surprisingly we managed to get up early and fitted the most recent addition - a new speedometer and speed switch, designed to provide the driver with more immediate feedback of the vehicle speed. Unfortunately the normal cycle computer that is used to give speed information has a refresh rate of approximately 2 seconds, which is much too long for deciding when to switch the engine off at the end of a short burst of acceleration. Having passed through scrutineering with ease by mid morning we began our acclimatization of the circuit and the new speedo, which we found to be far more accurate than previous and gave us much more repeatable lap times.

The main variability now comes from the amount of other traffic on the circuit and whether the vehicle has to take a wider line around the bends or not. As you will all remember the temperature on that Saturday was rather warm and so although we were pleased to carry out some runs Frances the driver found conditions in the vehicle extremely uncomfortable. We tested with petrol and with LPG and the vehicle seemed to perform much better than at Rockingham.

After the track was closed, the very generous hospitality of the organisers was enjoyed with a very tasty barbecue and some local music while some of the teams tinkered with their vehicles and others planned their strategy for the next day. When we awoke the next morning it was to mixed feelings, because unlike most of England the weather had broken and we woke to a few showers and much cooler temperatures. This obviously helped Frances problem of heat exhaustion, but the lower temperatures were likely to give poorer results mainly due to the reduction in tyre performance. Because we were running with petrol and lpg (separately of course) we were entitled to 3 runs with each fuel and so had 6 runs to do during the day. With this in mind we queued early for the first LPG run and were the first out on the track. Sadly this first run was marred right at the very end with a small mistake, because we came over the finish line 12 seconds too late for a valid run. Kicking ourselves for this error we rejoined the queue and were soon out again and completed the run successfully having burnt 3.2 grams of LPG. When converted to LPG at 20 degrees C this equated to 4504 mpg (our best ever for this fuel!).

Following this run we managed to squeeze another run in before dinner with slightly leaner mixture however the result was not quite as good at 4368 mpg. During dinner we converted the fuel system over to petrol and changed the fuel map etc. We managed to start our first petrol run at 2pm and again completed a successful run with 5889 mpg. More tweaks with the fuel and the tyre pressures led to our best ever result of 6198 mpg. Delighted with that result we hoped for more but the weather conditions were cooling down further by this time and the last run saw a result of 5770 mpg.

5120mpg petrol (Best UK) and 3113mpg LPG (Best LPG) at Rockingham 2003 - July 2003

We arrived at the speedway on Monday afternoon and set up a couple of caravans and tents just behind the grandstand. It was really quite strange to be camping so close to such an impressive structure. When 6pm came we were able to gain access to the pits and so were able to take the vehicle from the roof rack of the car where it had been transported, and start to prepare it for the following day's testing. There were plenty of jobs to do including a late improvement to the horn and new battery installation. After an hour and a half the pits were closed and we then spent time as a team discussing the plan of action for the next day.

At 7am the following morning we were again allowed into the pits and carried on preparing the vehicle ready for scrutineering. In addition to this, there were signing on procedures to be attended to and fitting out the drivers with race suits and helmets etc. We then took the vehicle for scrutineering and as usual it passed with no problems. Following a warm up in the pits we sent Frances out for a few laps to acclimatise herself to the track and the appropriate burn and coast strategy. We were not happy with the way the vehicle pulled away from the start line, because the clutch seemed not to transmit the drive smoothly to the rear wheel. However once moving the vehicle appeared to restart reasonably well and Frances circled the track 3 times before coming in. The next time Frances began a run the engine took even longer before the clutch was fully engaged on the initial start and we became more concerned and also puzzled. When we measured the fuel used we were somewhat alarmed because the amount used was approximately 50% up on the normal. Clearly there was a lot of fuel being wasted during the prolonged start period and also as we learnt later each time the engine was burnt. We tried a run burning from higher speeds and this helped because the clutch was already engaged at these higher speeds. The resulting fuel used reduced towards the expected amount, but this strategy introduced an additional difficulty with the timing of the burns during the lap.

During the test day we also tried LPG fuel in the vehicle but sadly that produced an even longer labouring of the clutch. By the end of testing we were becoming rather frustrated by the problems and as soon as the track was closed we examined the engine and the clutch to find out what was wrong. The clutch appeared to be fine on visual inspection, so we checked the engine and found that the compression of the engine was only about two thirds of normal!! This meant the cylinder head and barrel would have to be removed and refitted in the 4 hours remaining before the pits closed at 10pm. Clearly this was the last thing we wanted but hoped it would provide an answer to the problems. (With this lower compression, the engine was unable to provide the necessary torque output to accelerate the vehicle correctly.) When however, the engine was dismantled the cylinder bore and the ring surfaces looked good. The valve seating looked good also and the head gasket material also was intact. The only remaining explanation was that the rings had worn and the ring gap had grown too large. Sadly as a team we have not the resources to buy spare rings, or in deed spares of all the other components that are essential, and so we had no choice but to reassemble the engine as it was and hope for the best. (As you can imagine we found this very frustrating especially when earlier that day we had watched as Microjoule the top French team were trying to decide which of their 4 engines to use!). The rebuild was finished at 10pm and we decided to use thicker grade oil to help reduce the pressure losses.

The following day track was due to open at 10am so we joined a very short queue ready to carry out our first run. During this waiting time we were interviewed by a Daily Telegraph reporter and were introduced to various dignitaries. We began our first run shortly after 10am powered by LPG and soon realized that things were slightly improved from the previous day. The LPG container, regulator and injector were weighed before and after the event and the fuel consumption was measured as 2978mpg.

5193mpg petrol (Best UK) and 2835mpg LPG (Best LPG) at Alford 2002 - Aug 2002

Following the unreliability issue at Rockingham, the time between then and Scotland was spent primarily ensuring this would not re-appear again. So the vehicle wiring was stripped down and the cause of starting problems at Rockingham (a dodgy ignition/injector power switch) was replaced. Because of the difference in minimum average speed that is required to be maintained at the Scottish event compared with Rockingham (10mph as opposed to 15mph), it was necessary to change the gearing of the vehicle so that the most efficient range of engine speeds matched up with the optimum burning speeds.

In addition to this further work was carried out on the use of LPG and a simple system was developed to use this as an alternative fuel. On Thursday the vehicle was loaded onto the car roof rack and spares and tools etc were loaded into a borrowed trailor ready, and we set off for Reading where we picked up a team member and left our youngest son with his grandmother. The trip to Alford (approx 35minutes from Aberdeen) began at 4.00 am on Friday and was broken with breakfast an gretna Green services and other stops for toilets and sandwiches and petrol. The driving was shared between 2 of us and we arrived at the Grampian Transport museum at approx 6pm the same day. 2 further members of the team were picked up from Aberdeen airport during the evening and 2 more from Aberdeen station early the next morning.

During the Saturday (test day) the team quickly settled into a series of tests to re-establish the optimum burn and coast strategy. This is particularly tricky at Alford because the burn length is so short and the track length is only a quarter of a mile. During this time Frances our second driver also had a go in the vehicle and got used to the limited visibility and controls. We were able to test both petrol and LPG modes of operation and both appeared to be very reliable. On the competition day there was a delay in the start of the competition of almost an hour which was somewhat frustrating especially when it started to rain during our first run. This was the first time the vehicle had run in the wet this year and we were very pleased that Jenny was able to keep going through the whole run. Unfortunately the cycle computer stopped functioning correctly because of water on the connections so Jenny had to drive the vehicle very much from her wealth of experience which she did very well. Largely because of the weather conditions this first run achieved a result only 4664mpg. Following this, Frances completed a run. The cycle computer was now working again and there was no rain falling. She managed to improve on the previous result and it rose to 4811mpg. Having got 2 good runs in we then increased the tyre pressures slightly and leaned off the mixture slightly and Jenny completed the 3rd run with 5193mpg.

After this we changed over to LPG and were able to complete 1 run of 2835mpg. We did not know quite what to expect as this was the first ever time the vehicle had been measured on LPG. After the run we discovered a leak in the system and so the result we obtained was not as high as it could have been. The result in petrol (5193mpg) gave us the best petrol position and we were 2nd overall to a French diesel team (Optima Racing who achieved 6956mpg). We were obviously pleased to win both petrol and LPG classes and come the 2nd best overall, but it was slightly disappointing that our result was not any better than last year (5264mpg in 2001). It would seem that the changes carried out from last year have not all been improvements and we need to carry out a program of tests to analyse the effects of each of the changes.

5191mpg petrol (Best UK) at Rockingham 2002 - July 2002

Following the 2001 events, we had made a long list of the modifications and improvements that we hoped to achieve before the 2002 event. Unfortunately we had been rather optimistic in the number of these improvements to the vehicle, and we discovered as we got closer to the event that a number of them would not actually be ready and tested in time for the competition. The ones we were able to achieve included a redesign of the engine and rear wheel support structure, new front and rear wheels, improved transmission with a smaller chain.

When we arrived at the Rockingham event we needed to make some final adjustments to the vehicle including fitting a Black box and an indicator lamp to the starting circuit so that it could be proved that the starter motor was not being used to provide forward motion (ie cheating). Following these adjustments and a successful time in scrutineering we were able to take the vehicle out on the track to start testing. During the test day, we were not particularly happy with the measured results as they were not much above 4000mpg (significantly down on last year), however we were able to learn more about the driving strategy.

During the evening we spent some time checking over the vehicle and insulating the engine ready for the competition day. After the final instructions to the drivers by the marshalls, we readied ourselves for the first run as soon as we could, and Jenny set off. Fortunately there were no problems with the run and the fuel consumed was measured at 8.6cc giving a value of 5148 mpg. With mixed feelings about the result compared to last year (5581mpg), we raised the tyre pressures and leaned off the fuel mixture setting and did another run.

Unfortunately the weather, although still bright had become quite windy and when the vehicle was coasting along the main straight it was running head on into the wind. This part of the track is higher than the rest of the oval, and so when we would have hoped to benefit from the wind behind the vehicle, the vehicle was lower and therefore protected from the wind. The result from the second run improved to 5191mpg, but was sadly not as high as hoped. Following this the weather turned to showers as well as the wind, but the vehicle developed an unusual electrical fault and mysteriously would not start up. Unfortunately this fault took up the rest of the time available and the engine was not restarted again until a few minutes after the starting area had been closed. Our best result of 5191mpg was 4th best overall to a Japanese team with 9306mpg and 2 French teams with 6569 (diesel) and 6110mpg . The second best UK team was 4152mpg.

5264mpg petrol (Best UK) at Alford 2001 - Aug 2001

At the recent Scottish Eco-Marathon at the Grampian Transport Museum (12th August 2001), Team Green improved on its previous mileage (last year) of 3491.8 mpg to 5264 mpg, continuing its recent success as the best British or UK entry. This 50% improvement is due largely to the new engine, designed and built during the last 12 months and also an increase in knowledge and understanding about driving strategies etc.

The overall winner of the Scottish event was the Japanese team, Fancy Carol with 10,240 miles per gallon, and the second place went to the French team Optima Racing who achieved 6219 mpg with diesel fuel. Team Green has great respect for these foreign teams and hopes in the future to be able to achieve more competitive results. The following pictures are from the event:

5581mpg petrol (Best UK) at Rockingham 2001 - July 2001

Team Green are very pleased to announce that at the recent 2001 Eco Marathon event at Rockingham Motor Speedway, the vehicle performed much better we expected and was the best British vehicle and second overall in the competition. All the competitors who took part in the event on 22nd & 23rd June were very grateful to Shell Global Solutions for organizing another excellent Eco-Marathon.

Since last years event Team Green had spent most of their efforts designing and building a new more efficient engine to power the vehicle. This took a substantial amount of time, and as the 2001 competition came closer, a lot of midnight oil was burnt in order to complete it in time. Consequently testing of the engine was limited to the evenings of the week prior to the event. It was therefore with a certain amount of uncertainty as to the reliability of the new engine that the team travelled towards Corby on Thursday 21st June. The 2000 engine was taken just in case of any there were any major problems.

Having arrived at Rockingham we were most impressed with the spectacle of the stadium and the racing track and were excited about the prospects of competing on it over the next couple of days. During the test day our confidence with the new engine started to build up as we carried out a number of runs. From informal measurements that were taken, we knew that we were achieving better results than we had before and so we looked forward with anticipation to the competition day. After a final briefing from the 750 Motor Club officials who were assisting Shell in the organizing of the event, the teams were allowed to begin their attempts on the circuit "for real". The Team Green vehicle was the 3rd or 4th on the track to begin their 9.72 mile trip. This was 6.9 laps of the circuit and pit lane.

Using a radio the team was able to tell Jenny whether she was on target or not and therefore if she needed to carry out longer burns or shorter ones. This first run achieved a very pleasing result of 5198 mpg which gave us one in the bag so that we could then start to experiment. For the second run we pumped the tyres up a bit further and we leaned off the mixture slightly. As a result we achieved our best result of 5581mpg. For the 3rd and 4th runs we experimented further with fuel mixture but the weather conditions has turned slightly more windy and slightly cooler and so they returned values of 5364 and 5407 respectively.

Unfortunately for us Micro-joule the French team that has been winning the event for the last 10 years or so was competing and they bettered their own world record with an amazing result of 10227 mpg! Although it was frustrating to be competing in their shadow, we are hoping that their result will help to ensure the continued future of the competition. The teams are also trying to obtain as much publicity as possible to encourage Shell to keep the competition going in future years. Team Green has already featured in 4 local newspapers and hopefully in more to come.

Best at NEC 2000

Following the work of building a new vehicle for the 2000 event it was very pleasing that it performed so well. Due to the nature of the track (a short tight track around a car park) the mileages were all significantly lower than in previous years. Our winning run achieved 2662miles per gallon. As time lead up towards the event it became clear that there was going to be little or no time for any testing of the vehicle before the event. In fact the first time that the vehicle actually was driven at all was on the test day at the NEC! Jenny Goodman very quickly became adjusted to the new vehicle, and felt confident and secure with its driveability. She went on to do a number of runs during the Friday when we developed an appropriate burn and coast strategy for the slope and bends of the track. As I mentioned earlier it was a short track - 19 laps being equivalent for 5 miles, which meant that we could not burn from 10 to 20mph without incurring scrubbed speed on the bends. We also discovered that there were a lot of sharp splinters of flint/stone on the surface of the track which caused damage to the tyres. We ignored these splinters until the competition day when it poured down with rain just before the track opened for the event. During the first hour of vehicles attempting their runs, there were approximately 12 punctures. The rain seemed to bring the splinters to the surface and lubricate their progress through the tyre and inner tube. Fortunately our first run was successfully carried out without any punctures, but as Jenny crossed the finish line the rain caused her to skid as she tried to stop before the fuel measuring tent. This led to a blow out on the special Michelin radial rear tyre. The result for this run was 2490mpg, which we were pleased with considering the amount of water on the track. We then spent till dinner time fitting a new tyre, which unfortunately was not another radial. After dinner the track was more or less dry and so we carried out 3 runs in succession. We made adjustments to the valve timing and fuel on the first 2 runs and achieved 2270mpg and 2662mpg respectively. During the last run we experimented with burning the engine longer but less often, and were able to burn once for 2 laps of the circuit. The result however was not as good because of the tightness of the corners. This final run resulted in 2326mpg. The best run - 2662mpg used 8.55cc fuel for the 5 miles run.