Sonoma Raceway Hosts Make the Future California While They Put Fuel-Efficiency Records to the Test

Shell, in conjunction with Sonoma Raceway and Speedway Motorsports Inc., will welcome student teams from up to 100 high schools and universities across North and South America to Make the Future California featuring Shell Eco-marathon Americas, April 19-22, 2018.

Make the Future California provides a platform for innovation, collaboration and conversation around the world’s energy challenges, as part of a global series of events through 2018. At the heart of these events is Shell Eco-marathon – one of the world’s leading energy efficiency competitions for students – that, for the past 30 years, has been challenging future engineers and scientists to go the farthest with the least amount of energy.

For the past 11 years, students competing in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas have designed, built and tested ultra-energy-efficient vehicles, with some achieving more than 3,500 miles per gallon. 2018 marks the 12th edition of Shell Eco-marathon in the Americas and the return to California where the first Shell Eco-marathon Americas student challenge took place in 2007 with less than 20 teams competing on the inside track of the California Speedway in Fontana.

“We are excited to return to California, a hub for technology and innovation, as we bring together students, energy entrepreneurs and global and local partners to demonstrate collaboration and ignite conversations about how to meet the growing energy demand while reducing future CO₂ emissions,” said Bruce Culpepper, U.S. Country Chair and President, Shell Oil Company. “These ambitious students from all over the Americas have been preparing for the ultimate energy-efficiency challenge, and their bright ideas and innovations on the track show us all what could be possible for the energy solutions of the future.”

“The Shell Eco-marathon program helps to prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers for tomorrow’s energy challenges,” said Shanna Simmons, Shell Eco-marathon Global Technical Director. “This competition provides students an opportunity to create a real impact in the world today by encouraging innovation and real solutions to address the global energy challenge.”

More than 1,000 student participants from across the Americas have worked for months to plan and construct their ultra-energy-efficient vehicles. By maximizing elements such as streamlined design, lightweight materials and driving strategy, teams aim to set new fuel efficiency records in two Shell Eco-marathon competitions at the iconic Sonoma Raceway in April:

  • Shell Eco-marathon Mileage Challenge: students compete to see whose vehicle design can go the farthest on the least amount of fuel.
  • Shell Eco-marathon Drivers’ World Championship Regional Final: energy efficiency and speed unite in a race to crown the regional champion and secure a place in the Drivers’ World Championship Grand Final, which will be held in London, 2018.

Student teams can choose to participate in one of two vehicle categories:

  • The Prototype – challenges teams to enter futuristic, streamlined vehicles designed purely to reduce friction and maximize efficiency.
  • The UrbanConcept – focuses on more “roadworthy” energy-efficient vehicles.

For both vehicle categories in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas event, teams can choose to compete with one of three drivetrains based on five official energy sources:

  • Internal combustion: gasoline, diesel, and ethanol
  • Hydrogen fuel cell
  • Battery electric technologies

Teams from Across the Americas Take on the Challenge Year-After-Year
Participating teams in 2018 include the Université Laval from Quebec, Canada, which last year recorded 2,731.1 miles per gallon with its ultra-energy-efficient gasoline powered prototype vehicle for first place in their energy and vehicle category. Last year’s runners-up, Brigham Young University and Mater Dei High School from Evansville, Indiana, will also be heading to Sonoma Raceway in April.

This year’s UrbanConcept competitors will include Mater Dei Supermileage Team, returning for their 12th year in the competition, who recorded top energy efficiency stats with 723.4 miles per gallon in its gasoline powered vehicle last year. Minnesota’s Saint Thomas Academy, Alden-Conger High School, and New York’s Newburgh Free Academy, last years’ podium placers, will also compete again this year.

Notably, Louisiana Tech University, which won the Vehicle Design Award in 2017 with its custom-designed UrbanConcept car, is aiming to take the top honors at Sonoma Raceway. This year, the team has partnered with Louisiana Tech’s School of Design to enhance branding and promotion for the team and represent the new era of the program.

Events Surrounding Make the Future California Add Value
In 2018, Shell will help shape the future of sustainable mobility in the Bay Area by uniting the industries and individuals that will help drive a cleaner, brighter future. Shell events related to Make the Future California in April will foster dialogue about future energy challenges and near-term solutions, including:

  • Powering Progress Together, April 19: This year in San Francisco, Shell will convene leading thinkers at this action-focused event aimed to foster conversation about the future of energy. The event will invite fresh thinking, and encourage collaboration, dialogue and debate.
  • Synergy Food Truck: The unique Synergy Truck was developed by Shell Eco-marathon student participants who collaborated to re-imagine every aspect of the food truck experience using new energy technologies. The food truck will also be onsite during the Shell Eco-marathon events at Sonoma Raceway.
  • Shell B2B Showcase: Various businesses within Shell will be featured on site, such as Shell’s New Energies group based in San Francisco, showcasing hydrogen and electric automotive mobility; Shell Lubricants and its hyper-fuel-efficient Class 8 tractor-trailer, Starship; and the nearby Shell Martinez Refinery.

For more information on Shell Eco-marathon Americas, including additional details on vehicle class requirements, official rules and details on prizes, please visit the Shell Eco-marathon website at:


About Make the Future Festivals
Make the Future Festivals is Shell’s global platform for conversation, collaboration and innovation around the world’s energy challenges. With events hosted in countries around the globe, they aim to provide an opportunity for multiple stakeholders: including students, entrepreneurs, businesses, governments and the public, to experience, test and contribute bright energy ideas.

About Shell Eco-marathon
Shell Eco-marathon is a global program built to offer students hands-on opportunities to develop ideas and technology, knowledge and skills, within an arena of competition.

Currently held in Asia, the Americas and Europe and made up of two key competitions: Shell Eco-marathon Mileage Challenge, and Drivers’ World Championship, students from countries across their respective regions use innovative problem-solving skills to design and build their own cars. Looking at every aspect of design and technology, students compete to prove that their bright ideas will produce the most energy-efficient vehicle when tested on the track.

Shell Eco-marathon began in 1939 at a Shell research laboratory in the United States as a friendly wager between scientists to see who could get the most miles per gallon from their vehicle. In 1985 in France, Shell Eco-marathon as we know it today was born. In April 2007, the Shell Eco-marathon Americas event was launched in the United States, and in 2010, the inaugural Shell Eco-marathon Asia was held in Malaysia, up until 2013. In 2018 Shell Eco-marathon Mileage Challenge and Drivers’ World Championship competitions will be held in Singapore, California and London, with London hosting the Drivers’ World Championship Grand Final.

About Shell Oil Company
Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of the Royal Dutch Shell plc, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with operations in more than 70 countries. In the U.S., Shell operates in 50 states and employs more than 20,000 people working to help tackle the challenges of the new energy future. Shell Oil Company is a leading oil and gas producer in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, a recognized pioneer in oil and gas exploration and production technology and one of America’s leading oil and natural gas producers, gasoline and natural gas marketers and petrochemical manufacturers.

About Sonoma Raceway
Sonoma Raceway, located in the Sonoma Valley, is Northern California’s premier motor-sports destination, featuring a world-class road course, drag strip and karting center.  Its annual race schedule is headlined by the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and Verizon IndyCar® Series. In addition, Sonoma Raceway boasts a motor-sports industrial park, which serves as home to more than 70 businesses, including the Simraceway Performance Driving Center. Sonoma Raceway is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., a leading marketer and promoter of motor-sports entertainment in the United States.