Barely a month-and-a-half ago Pope Francis said Mass in Manila’s historic Rizal Park for an unprecedented six million people. Now, after 38 days of preparation and construction, the park’s south-west end will be the stage for more than 120 teams of students competing in the city’s second Shell Eco-marathon Asia from tomorrow – Thursday February 26 – until March 1.
“Once the Pope had left, we had 10 days less than last year to put everything together,” said Lynda Hickey, Global Project Director. Equipment including more than 12,000 m2 of tents, 6 km of internet cabling and 2.6 km of fencing all had to brought onsite and assembled.
As many as 40,000 visitors are expected, perhaps even more.
Over 120 teams from 17 countries – including new countries Australia, Bangladesh, Oman and Saudi Arabia – are taking part this year. The first students began to arrive for registration in the early afternoon, a much faster process this year thanks to tablets and other new technology.
Once registered and briefed on safety, teams can head over to the paddocks. There they can start unpacking and reassembling their cars from boxes and crates flown and shipped in, and transported the final leg through Manila’s dense traffic.
Thursday will a make-or-break technical inspection, with seven steps and more than 15 tests.
It is Kat Zoleta’s first time at the event. She is driving for Team Adamson I-Mechatron from Adamson University in the Philippines.
“It’s exciting. This is something new to me, and I don’t know what to expect. But I hope to do well though this is my first time driving at the Shell Eco-marathon,” she said.
Change of direction
This year’s track event will run in a clockwise direction, as opposed to anti-clockwise last year, meaning drivers will need to turn right, not left.
Other challenges include tighter corners, and a bumpier portion of track made up with concrete containing bricks and cobblestones instead of asphalt.
Another significant change involves the public. The event layout now brings visitors much closer to the students at work in the paddock, or circling the track.
Technical Director Colin Chin said, “For me, the changes are about giving them a much better feel of the journey taken by the students taking part in the Shell Eco-marathon.”
All visitors to the event will be invited to step inside the world of energy and learn about its future. Following a yellow brick road with eight stations, they can interact with a series of exhibits and take quizzes before discovering the role best suited to them in a Shell Eco-marathon student team.