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The Shell Eco-marathon is a unique competition that challenges students across the world to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient vehicles and participate in a race to achieve the farthest distance on the least fuel.

This competition highlights Shell’s belief that human ingenuity and new technology hold the key to unlocking the energy consumers need to power their lives in the years ahead.

Team Nigeria consists of outstanding engineering students from the University of Lagos (UNILAG), University of Benin (UNIBEN), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, supported by their academic professors.

The students will compete in Qatar in 2014, using vehicles they design and build themselves.

As part of preparations for the main event, they attended the 2013 Shell Eco-marathon Europe (May 15-19) in Rotterdam, Netherlands as observers.

Mutiu Sunmonu, Country Chair Shell Companies in Nigeria said, “Shell’s sponsorship of Team Nigeria is in line with our continued support for education in the country.

Every year, we invest in scholarship programmes, science fairs and quiz competitions.

At the tertiary education level, we have endowed eight University Professorial Chairs in selected disciplines for teaching and research.”

While in Netherlands, Team Nigeria spent over three hours touring Shell Technology Centre Amsterdam (STCA), one of three facilities around the world where scientists create oil and gas industry innovations.

The students and faculty members, inspired by the relentless search for solutions and passion for excellence shown by the Shell scientists, are keen to emulate the same ethos as they prepare to design, build and race fuel efficient cars at the maiden Middle East/Africa edition of Shell Eco-marathon in Doha, Qatar.

Team Nigeria also inspected Shell Eco-marathon vehicles and networked with competitors. Among other things, the Nigerians were interested in finding out about engine configuration, instrumentation and design portability. 

The team was taken around an inspection process in which vehicles are checked against 10 different requirements prior to qualification to race.

To ensure fair play, Shell will provide all fuels – diesel or petrol - for races at the competition.

Technical manager, Shell Eco-marathon Norman Koch said: “I advise first timers like you to take one step at a time. Often, teams come in planning to smash records but discover otherwise.

For example, a university from Spain is today celebrating 25 years of competing in Shell Eco-marathon Europe.”

Sadiq Yusuf, a mechanical engineering student from Ahmadu Bello University, and Taj-Liad Abdulmalik, a production engineering student from University of Benin, test drove some vehicles taking part in the Eco-marathon.

Kitted up in full gear, the students looked like professional drivers racing in a grand prix event.

The expectation is that Team Nigeria will drive their own vehicles in Doha.