Saint Thomas Academy Finishes Top in U.S. in Shell Championship

The Saint 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, CA, in April.

The Saint Thomas Academy Experimental Vehicle Team (EVT) chalked up another successful year on Sunday, July 8, as it finished fifth in the world in the 2018 Shell Eco-marathon Drivers’ World Championship.

The Saint 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, CA, 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.

The Saint Thomas Academy team 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. Image courtesy of Saint Thomas Academy. The Saint Thomas Academy team beat out teams 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. Image courtesy of Saint Thomas Academy.

Unlike a typical race, this real-world engineering competition recognizes teams for 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 strategize when to expend more energy to move up in the field. This year’s serpentine course enabled drivers to overtake others during the 10-lap race.

The EVT started in the seventh position and had a setback when its telemetry system malfunctioned. Driver Joe 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.

The Shell Eco-marathon encourages interest and skill development in engineering disciplines among high school and college students as they design, build and race the most energy-efficient concept cars. Alumni of the Shell Eco-marathon have gone on to work at Tesla, Toyota and other major automakers. Four class of 2018 EVT team members have secured spots in the freshman class at the highly selective School of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, which receives 14,000 applications for 1,100 spots.

Vehicle Specs

  • Developed using CAD software
  • Single-person vehicle
  • Weight: approx. 114 kg
  • Top speed: 35 mph
  • Street-legal lighting
  • Four-wheel independent suspension
  • Four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes
  • Full roll cage, seatbelt and five-point safety harness to protect the driver in the event of a crash

Saint Thomas Academy is an all-male, college preparatory, Catholic, military/leadership school committed to preparing young men to succeed in college and in life. The Academy challenges its students in grades 6-12, to excel academically, spiritually, morally and physically in and out of the classroom. It is fully accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS); a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Minnesota Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), and the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States (AMCSUS).

For more information, visit Saint Thomas Academy.

Sources: Press materials received from the company.

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