Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Eco-race: Pakistanis on right track, fall short of finish line

Published Jul 08, 2012 03:02pm


Your Name:

Recipient Email:

Teams line up on July 6, for the flag-off ceremony at the Sepang International F1 Circuit in Malaysia. – Photo by Nadir Siddiqui/

The Shell Eco-Marathon Asia reached a climax of activity on its final two days as student teams and their cars were finally flagged off on the track and began to drive their cars around the circuit to try and achieve the best mileage.

Now in its third year, the competition challenges Asia’s brightest young minds to create innovative vehicles of the future that push the boundaries of fuel-efficiency and energy conservation.

By the time the competition ended on July 7, the record for longest distance on one litre of fuel had been broken by Thai team Luk Jao Mae Khlong Prapa, who topped their own 2011 performance with a remarkable mileage of 2,903 kilometres on just one litre of ethanol.

The team achieved a 30 per cent improvement over their previous record by making several changes to their 2011 car design, that included a change of engine, air-fuel ratio, and driving strategy.

This year’s competition also attracted more students than the last two years since the Asian wing of the Eco-Marathon has been held – with 119 teams participating from all over the continent and a total crowd of over 1,500 students and visitors.

One of the UrbanConcept cars drives in the pit-lane before entering the main F1 track (on the right), as the other team-members watch. A section of the F1 track at the Sepang circuit was prepared for the competition. – Photo by Nadir Siddiqui/

There were a total of 31 awards handed out at the close of the ceremony for first and second prizes in different categories, as well as for off-track achievements such as team spirit and eco-design awards. You can see the full awards from all the teams here.

Pakistani teams were not able to get any awards this year, and many technical problems combined with tough competition in the tracks left them short of winning results.

In spite of Pakistan’s lack of prizes, this was probably the best year for them overall, as it saw most teams competing successfully until the last stages of the competition, tackling problems that occurred in the pits as well as on the track.

The NUST PNEC team prepares their UrbanConcept car – named Bolt - for the opening flag-off ceremony, in which they represented Pakistan. - Photo by Nadir Siddiqui/

In the last two competitions, Pakistani teams had found it difficult to pass the safety tests in order to reach the track and set a valid distance on the score-card. This year most of them passed their tests, and five of them went on to complete their laps and set a distance on the score-card of the competition. These teams came from different universities and represented different parts of the country, such as Pak Octane, a team from Hitec University in Taxila, who had a Galosline Prototype car and got a result of 119 Km/l after their successful run.

The team-members from Hitec University pose outside the pit with their prototype car and a Pakistan flag after completing their successful run. – Photo by Nadir Siddiqui/

Not all the teams were able to do successful runs however: Team Hammerhead, from GIK were one of the best teams from Pakistan, however compounded trouble with valves, brakes and other areas resulted in an interrupted final run, which to the team’s disappointment, was initially going well.

“It was the last run we could have done because time was running out, we had a great mileage until we had problems with the engine and had to stop” said Shams Mawji, their team leader.

The major issues that Pakistani teams faced with their cars were not unique to their contingent; however their lack of resources sometimes held them behind.

“The other teams come prepared with all the spare parts from their countries, they bring extra engines, and brakes and such.” Said Nauman Ahmed, a Shell Team mentor “The Pakistani teams cannot afford that, and then when a part fails or something needs to be replaced, they don’t even know where and how they can procure these parts in Malaysia.”

These problems, combined with the lack of overall financial or structural backing that these teams had, resulted in some hard-working teams falling just short of targets because of problems teams were not equipped to solve.

“You see the problem is, we have sponsors, however they tend to come into the picture a bit late,” says Abid Ibrahim, GM External Affairs at Shell, “in other countries the sponsors come in right in the beginning and they are able to fund all the research and expensive equipment that the teams need to develop their car.”

The resulting problem is cyclical, the sponsors are deterred by the lack of success that Pakistani teams have at the competition, but success is tough without a strong and consistent sponsorship from teams.

Many of the team-members are final year students, and they are entering the competition for the last time. “We want to go back and set up a society that helps the future teams build on our success and learn from our problems” says Hammerhead team-leader Mawji, who pointed out that their whole car was built in GIKI.

Team-members from Hammerhead work together on their prototype car in the pit on the flag-off day of the competition. - Photo by Nadir Siddiqui/

Mentorship and patronage from universities is also slightly weak, a problem that some of our teams share with the Indians, “Our biggest problem is that we don’t have any senior guidance” say the team-members of Team Lakshya from Chandigargh, “If you look around at these teams, they have faculty members and really experienced professionals accompanying the teams during the competition, we don’t have that and we feel the pressure. Perhaps this should be made compulsory.”

Team Lakshya, like other Pakistani and Indian teams, did not win any awards this time. They won an award for Perseverance in the Face of Adversity in 2009, and a design award for their Stealth style vehicle as well. This time, they were the first Indian team to do a valid run in the competition.

Members of Team Lakshya from India pose with their Shell Mentor, Nauman Ahmed (left) while working on their car in the pit. – Nadir Siddiqui/

For the subcontinent teams however, the warmest moment perhaps occurred after the vibrant awards ceremony, where the Indians joined the Pakistani teams for a photo-session that turned into a joint celebration of each other’s hard work and nationality. In a rare moment of harmonious celebration the contingent of teams could be seen together arm-in-arm, taking group photos and shouting “Pakistan Zindabad! Hindustan Zindabad!” for each other’s countries.

All the teams from Pakistan and India hold up their country flags while they cheer and celebrate their efforts at the end of the competition. – Photo by Nadir Siddiqui/

Judging from the growing enthusiasm, and more experienced teams, hopefully we will see more success for both countries in future competitions.

Nadir Siddiqui is a photographer and multimedia journalist at


Your Name:

Recipient Email:

Comments (40) Closed

zczcz Jul 08, 2012 07:03pm
When industry will come to appreciate and sponsor this... we will rise. We have the best talent no doubt. Well done Team Hammer head from GIKI and others. Transfer this to future students to make it the best. wow 2900+ on one litre of ethanol pure awesomeness.
raika45 Jul 09, 2012 03:20am
Interesting.While so many of you are aware of the event.In Malaysia,there is zero,zilch publicity.Not even a spot of news in the papers.Either of the event or the end results.Look at the grand stand in the picture.It is totally empty.
Abdullah Jul 08, 2012 06:36pm
good job guys, Nation is proud of you. keep improving it.
Rukh-e-zehra Jul 08, 2012 08:09pm
First of all, I would like to say thanks to you for all the details ...while reading your article its give me feeling that I was also be a part of that race ...........amazing job....... Hats Off for the Pakistani student beside all lack of sponsorship without any senior guidance they took a part in this competitions. May ALLAH bless the participant
SQureshi Jul 09, 2012 05:03am
Great initiative and a good effort by the Pakistani teams. Sad though that there has not been much support / sponsorship for successful runs.
Tariq Jul 08, 2012 08:47pm
Dont worry guys keep on lack of resources etc cant make you stop inventing and innovating best of luck success is just behind sight i read this article and consider it as a success story
Sfyn2 Jul 08, 2012 10:40pm
The progress sounds to be the right step forward. Competing at any level leads to advancements. Pakistan Zindabad!
moeenuddin mohmand Jul 09, 2012 04:31am
all the best pakistan team there is always a next time inshallah will improve if u work hard and dedicate your self no one can stop ur achivements..and allah s help should be saught always ...keep it up and good luck in future...moeen
Naim ur Rehman Jul 09, 2012 03:29am
well done Pakistani boys i am very proud of you. Keep working hard country needs your talent in all the fields especially in fuel and water improvement
Aamir Jul 09, 2012 01:30pm
Always remember that even the greatest towers rise from the ground! This is a great effort, and must be thoroughly appreciated. There will always be challenges, but each challenge must be taken as an opportunity to prove yourself. Best of luck in your current and future endeavors - stay with it, give your best shot, and I know one day you'll be making the headlines!
M. Waqar H. Khan Jul 09, 2012 05:01am
Good efforts by Pakistani students, and Thanks to Dawn to give the coverage by their special reporter/photographer. DAWN has a tradition to followup the news which is not so good now-a-days. I hope DAWN will keep the tradition of followup the news for what they are liked. M. Waqar H. Khan
owais Jul 09, 2012 12:06am
Very nice. Way to go. Your just being there makes the nation proud. Winning is secondary. Standing for a competition is all that counts. Bravo!
Aamir Jul 09, 2012 12:26pm
Always remember that even the greatest towers rise from the ground! This is a great effort, and must be thoroughly appreciated. There will always be challenges, but each challenge must be taken as an opportunity to prove yourself. Best of luck in your current and future endeavors - stay with it, give your best shot, and I know one day you'll be making the headlines!
Hussain Jul 08, 2012 05:51pm
It would have been apt to put the average mileage of a typical car - An XLI travels about 13 - 15km / ltr of petrol. 2903km is astounding to say the least.
Ali Bin Ahmad Jul 09, 2012 11:00am
Its really nice to read such positive and constructive news from Pakistan. No doubt there is no shortage of talent and intelligence, the only need of hour is to utilize the potential of youth upto maximim level
Syd Jul 08, 2012 04:58pm
Great effort. Great job. I hope I see the name of our country being mentioned in positive way like this more and more.
FOUZIA Jul 08, 2012 04:44pm
well done boys. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD
indian Jul 08, 2012 04:24pm
Good! How lovely to see the both flags together. Hope this is our future and not the " Long March to islamabad" . Lets allow the minds to win the hearts.
Syed Jawwad Jul 09, 2012 05:12pm
Good to see the boys in action. Haters keep hating .... players keep winning.
Kamaljit Singh Jul 09, 2012 02:42am
Congratulations to both the teams proving engineers are better than politicians to bridge the gap!
Azhar Chaudhry Jul 09, 2012 02:31am
Work can do it!
TJmaxx Jul 09, 2012 01:38pm
Its probably first time in last decade that one sees a good constructive event news coming out of Pakistan. Bravo & congratulations!
Kamal Jul 09, 2012 02:21am
Love it. Keep it up guys.
Aziz Jul 09, 2012 05:56am
Teams from Pakistan and India will eventually win if they persist and improve. It is a very positive development that the teams from the two countries are interacting well. They should share their knowledge and experience with each other to bring about a positive change of attitude in each country as well. Wish both teams well in the future.
Abdullah Jul 09, 2012 06:23am
Brilliant effort from Pakistani students. Indian and Pakistanis live and work together in foreign countries. This is our racist media who create differences b/w the two countries and always highlight the differences.
Sehrish Khan Jul 09, 2012 06:47am
Excellent effort mates :) All the best for the future
Askari Jul 09, 2012 06:53am
It's good to see that Pakistani students are doing well out there raising the Pakistani flag high and portraiting a positive image of Pakistan. Abbas
Usman Chaudhri Jul 09, 2012 06:57am
We are indeed moving in the right direction.
Mubashir Saeed Jul 09, 2012 07:29am
Alhumdulliah! Good things are still happening in Pakistan.
Tufail Khan Jul 09, 2012 07:37am
Well done Team Pakistan
Hamza Jul 09, 2012 07:45am
If Pakistani and Indian team work togather they definately win
Abdul Jul 09, 2012 08:01am
Thankyou dawn news for an indepth coverage of such an important event. I wish Pakistani and Indian team good luck for their future endevours.
Zhussain Jul 09, 2012 09:09am
Congratulations for the excellent efforts with almost no financial support and sponsorship. Keep it up, success always start with the failure. Thanks to the young reporter Nadir Siddiqui (Dawn) for the coverage and all the best for the brightest talents from Pakistan and India.
Uza Syed Jul 09, 2012 09:12am
Pakistanis have other things to do than promote research and development here. Of course, our students are just as intelligent and hardworking as any other, but they need over all support from us all irrespective of what sector of the state and the country we belong. Anything if has to be excellent must have our wholehearted support.
Muhammad Jul 09, 2012 09:16am
Really great effort. Best of luck for future.
micky Jul 09, 2012 11:11pm
I feel ever so proud to see this news ... i mean i am a pakistani ... n i have a hunger to create such nation moving events ... i just wish that our new teenage and grown up generations from india and pakistan will take this difference ut between two great countries and work togeather in near future ...
Tamilselvan Jul 10, 2012 02:10am
Congratualtions to Pak students for their performance despite the hurdles of daily bombing etc they face there. Let's hope this inspires other students in your country to strive harder despite all odds. Let India and Pak compete for betterment of mankind
hammad malik Jul 11, 2012 06:40am
great effort by pakistani students , they must overcome all their technical faults next time and very well done HITEC university :) keep it up
taimoor Jul 12, 2012 07:01am
its good to see the two flags together... Bundles of best Wishes for students who done a great effort...
Saad Ali Jul 15, 2012 05:07pm
Saad Ali from FAST NU the electric prototype team here. The real debate here is not whether Pakistanis and Indians live in harmony abroad or not. The real debate should be derived from the first paragraph of the column, why is it that the Pakistani teams are falling short of the mark 3 years in a row, and I'll tell you why?! No funding, no supervision, no support from the native industry and absolutely no support from SHELL PAKISTAN during the event. The lack of knowledge about all the teams in this article is an apt example of how the Pakistani ambassadors during the event leave the Pakistani teams on their own and the name of FAST NU team is not mentioned here because our ambassadors did not bother to tell the Pakistani media, let alone International media, about ALL the Pakistani teams. The Indian ambassador on the other hand is clever enough to get his car and the respective team an audience with the Dawn Photographer and Reporter. Let me also tell you an interesting fact about the Indian contingent, in all history of Shell Eco Marathon Asia NONE, ZERO, SHUNIAY (0), Indian teams have ever cleared all of their inspection tests! Only this year ONE Indian team was able to clear its tests and get to the track in order to race! All of the Pakistani teams made it to the race track on the other hand. But in the media they have gotten more attention than other Pakistani teams that went to represent Pakistan in Malaysia. That's very shameful on the part of Shell Pakistan and the team ambassadors that it appointed to go with the teams. Our team is planning to compete next year as well, anyone with any sense of philanthropy or some misplaced social responsibility thinking of supporting us financially or technically can reach me @