Shell Philippines has officially launched the Asian leg of the Shell Eco-marathon last Friday, January 17, at Patio Victoria in Intramuros.
The Asian leg of the annual Shell Eco-marathon was started in 2010.
The competition challenges students from around the world to design and make energy-efficient vehicles.
Country Chairman Edgar Chua announced that the Philippines will be hosting the event in celebration of the centennial year of Shell in the country.
The Asian leg of the competition will be held in Manila from February 6 to 9, 2014 at the Luneta Park with 120 teams from 16 counties.
The Philippines have 17 teams from, among others, the De La Salle University, University of Sto. Tomas, and Mapua Institute of Technology.
CELEBRITY CHALLENGE. Before the launch, television host and commercial model Bianca Gonzalez demonstrated how using the right fuel for your car can help you drive efficiently.
The Kapamilya host was challenged to drive from the Shell Refinery in Tabangao, Batangas, to Manila.
She said, “Me kasi, I really enjoy driving naman like every other Pinoy.
"You really enjoy driving pero sa traffic ka lang talaga naiinis."
She related it was not her first time to drive the long distance, but it was her first time to spend an entire day driving.
"Kasi we didn’t only drive the distance, nag-stops pa kami.
“So, it was definitely tiring pero was definitely fulfilling naman talaga.”
Bianca will also represent the Philippines in the Celebrity Driving Challenge in which her fuel-efficient driving skill will be put to the test.
She will compete against three other famous faces from Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia.
The 30-year-old TV personality said this is the first time that she will try "to win anything for the Philippines.”
Bianca admitted that she feels the pressure of being the first celebrity representative from the Philippines, “I would say definitely, yes, I’m the first celebrity driver ambassador."
It is momentous, according to her, "Kasi it’s the one hundred years of Shell Pilipinas. Manila is hosting it [Shell Eco-marathon] for the first time.
“So yes, I’m pressured but at the same time parang the competition is more in the spirit of fun.
"Parang panalo lahat kasi everyone is driving on Fuel Save.
“It’s not like na kung manalo ako, or something like kung matalo ako, talo ang Fuel Save.
"All off us will be driving on Fuel Save. Kumbaga nasa skills siguro as a driver.”
The Kapamilya host will ride a prototype car developed by Shell for the competition.
For her preparations, Bianca said that she has been given a schedule for a practice run before the event.
She related, “Kasi hindi naman siya yung ite-take lightly na, ‘O, I’ll get in the car and I’ll wing it.’
"So, I’ll definitely make a couple of rounds given the chance.
BEATING CHINA AND SINGAPORE. Chua in his opening remarks said, “This is a distinct honor.
"Actually... the first Eco-marathon in Asia was held in Malaysia and this is a three-year commitment.
“Two years ago, we were looking for the next country.
"We actually… we volunteered because, you know, it’s more fun in the Philippines.
“But we were competing with other countries like China.
"They wanted to bring it to Shanghai, they have a race track in Shanghai, Formula 1.
“And the other is Singapore. They also have Formula 1.
“We told them that the Philippines, we don’t have a Formula 1 race track but we have a lot to offer—our hospitality since Shell is celebrating a hundred years this year, 2014.
"So, this is a good opportunity.
“Anyway, finally we won. We were able to bring it to the Philippines.
"So, come February 6 to 9, [the] Luneta Park, the [Quirino] Grandstand will be temporarily converted into a street race track and that’s where we’ll hold the Shell Eco Marathon.”