An annual competition gathering more than 100 student teams from 16 Asian and Middle East countries, Shell Eco-Marathon Asia is not just a race to the finish line. Here, we give you three reasons why you should bring yourself to the event on February 6-9 at the Luneta Park.
* The love for cars. The cars you will see at Shell Eco-Marathon Asia may not even be half as gorgeous as a supercar, but these vehicles have been designed by students to sip as little fuel as possible while logging in as many miles traveled as possible. More than 100 cars from all over Asia will gather to compete, and that means not only is it a gathering of cars, but is also an assembly of the brains behind these car designs.
At the Shell FuelSave Celebrity Driving Challenge culminating event last week, the leaders of the Philippine teams were given the floor to speak about their experience building their cars, which took about four to five months. \"It all started when I was young,\" said Mark Pimentel of Mapua Institute of Technology. \"I\'ve been a car lover since I was a kid, and back then I told myself, \'Someday, I want to build car.\' So this is really a dream come true.\"
* Witness a couple of Shell Eco-Marathon Asia firsts. While the annual competition has been going on since 2010, this is its debut year in the Philippines. Malaysia\'s Sepang International Circuit was the event\'s home for three years. As it moves to the Philippines, it also takes a different competition setting: It leaves the enclosed circuit and tackles the urban streets of Manila. Shell Pilipinas country manager, Edgar Chua, said that the company hopes \"to bring excitement\" and provide an avenue for science and innovation in the country.
* Catch celebrity Bianca Gonzalez drive a Shell prototype vehicle. As Shell FuelSave celebrity driver of the country, Gonzalez will join on February 7 actor Alex Simon Rendell of Thailand, celebrity DJs Glenn Ong and Jean Danker of Singapore, and model and TV host Lisa Surihani of Malaysia for the Shell FuelSave Celebrity Driving Challenge. The team\'s goal is to beat the European celebrities\' total distance record at the Shell Eco-Marathon Europe held in Rotterdam last year. The celebrity driver that covers the longest distance will be awarded the Shell FuelSave Celebrity Driver of the Year. Do you think Bianca Gonzalez can seize the honor?
Some streets will be closed from traffic on February 7 for the driving challenge, thus spelling traffic jam in the area. Our wise words? If you can\'t beat it (the slow-moving traffic, that is), join it (the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia event, of course).
Photos by Tracy Carpena