St. Thomas Academy finishes as top U.S. team in the Shell Eco-marathon Drivers’ World Championship

The St. Thomas Academy Experimental Vehicle Team (EVT) finished fifth in the world at the 2018 Shell Eco-marathon Drivers’ World Championship on July 8. Unlike the 2017 grand finale cut short by rain, the 2018 race took place on a sweltering, sun-drenched day at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. 

This year’s team in London consisted of Driver Joe Zirnhelt ’18 of Eagan, Devin McGill ’18 of St. Paul (Mac-Groveland), Nicholas Kern ’18 of Lakeville, Alex Moeller ’18 of St. Paul (Highland), Zachary Keller ’18 of Edina, Joe McMahon ’19 of Minneapolis (Lynnhurst), and Peter Holmes ’19 of Edina. 

The St. Thomas Academy team earned its third-consecutive trip to the global stage by placing first in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas Drivers’ World Championship, held in Sonoma, California, in April. The EVT beat out teams, including several university teams, from North and South America that raced hydrogen, battery-electric and internal-combustion powered UrbanConcept cars. The top three teams from the Shell Eco-marathon Americas, Asia and Europe comprised the nine-car field for the international finale.

Unlike a typical race, this real-world engineering competition recognizes teams for both finish position and using the least amount of energy. Drivers and their pit crews are in constant communication as they consider their laps to go and their cars’ remaining energy levels, which are provided by onboard telemetry systems. Teams carefully strategize when to expend more energy to move up in the field. This year’s serpentine course provided limited opportunity for drivers to overtake others during the 10-lap race.

The EVT started in the seventh position and had a further set back when its telemetry system malfunctioned. Zirnhelt ’18 of Eagan maneuvered the team’s battery-electric car to a fifth-place finish. After some confusion, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember of Indonesia was named the champion, followed by Saskatchewan Polytechnic of Canada.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet
Comment Here