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The annual Shell Eco-Marathon is a competition designed to find the entrant whose car achieves the maximum fuel economy after driving 40 minutes and completing seven laps around the track at a minimum of 15 mph. Cars can run on gasoline, diesel, LPG, or hydrogen. This year's UK event was held at the Rockingham Speedway.

Most of the entrants are ultra-aerodynamic, bizarrely-shaped creations that look like something out of a sci-fi picture. In this year's event, there was an exception, however. Caterham Cars partnered with Energy Efficient Motorsport (EEMS) and entered a specially-prepared Caterham Seven they called the 2R in the competition.

The 2R was completely production based, and ran on a stock 120-horsepower 1.6L K-Series engine from the company's Roadsport model. The only changes made for the challenge were the fitment of a new aerodynamic body, a lighter seat and narrow-width low-resistance rolling stock. Careful, economical driving techniques would be used by its pilot to squeeze the maximum fuel efficiency out of the engine.

The internal goal the team set for themselves was 100 mpg. The Caterham 2R did better than expected, achieving 131 mpg. Not bad for a lightweight sports car designed to be flung about the track with abandon. Especially considering that this particular Seven is basically a wheel/tire change away from doing so, even in its so-called Eco trim.

(Press release after the jump)

[Source: Caterham Cars]


PRESS RELEASE:

THE 131 MPG CATERHAM

Caterham is famed for producing some of the fastest cars in the world, but what about one capable of returning 131 miles per gallon?

That's exactly what a modified Caterham Seven achieved at the recent Shell Eco- Marathon at Rockingham.

Customized by carbon fibre specialist Axon Automotive, with the support of Energy-Efficient Motorsport (EEMS), the standard Caterham Seven Roadsport 1.6-litre K Series used enhanced aerodynamics, new lightweight seating, narrow low rolling resistance tyres and economic driving techniques to ensure it maximised every drop of fuel. The sportscar smashed the team's initial 100mpg target.

The Shell Eco-Marathon is an annual competition to determine the car with the greatest fuel economy after 40 minutes driving and seven laps of the track at a minimum of 15mph. Each entry must meet strict safety requirements and drive using as little petrol, LPG, diesel or hydrogen as possible.

Axon Automotive project leader, Dr Steve Cousins comments: "We are showing that careful driving and relatively simple modifications to conventional cars can lead to significant fuel savings. Significantly the Caterham 2R was the only car in the competition that was moulded from a road-legal vehicle."


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  • 46 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      To the first idiot who posted the obvious for us all to say, "no crap," i'd just like to remind him that they're aren't saying they're the only ones who make efficient cars. What they're saying is that they're the only ones w/ cars that get over 100mpg!!! Big deal that a jag w/ a diesel gets decent mileage as we know it, but it can't touch over 100 mpg's and none of you're other irrelevant comments and suggestions would bring any vehicle to that level either. Also, they aren't saying that their car is a racer or even a daily driver, so who cares how it corners, what we should all be impressed at is that when GM or Ford say, hey we have a 4 cyl that gets 30 mpg, they're saying that hey, we get all that plus another 100! So don't go critizing this amazing acheivement b/c you can't blow the doors off of a mustang w/ it or tow your boat w/ it. Your idiotic post is just what I'd expect from a moron who drives a Hummer n complains about $3.50 a gallon gas!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Gas ... Diesel ... LPG ... who cares ... its not gonna last forever ... All those fuels are going to continue to increase in cost. I beleive the answer is water .... water yes thats right ... H2O. all fueling stations have the things you need to make the fuel cells possible. city water and electric power. but the oil companies wont spend one dime to develop it on a large scale.

      first off you don't have to ship it its already there you just have to use the power to split the Hydrogen and the oxygen. now that Gas is $3+ a gallon its now economical to develop it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      IM TIRED OF MAKING THE OIL TYCOONS WEALTHY AT MY EXPENSE. I AM AN INVENTOR OF SORTS AND HAVE A FEW IDEAS THRASHING AROUND. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO THROW A FEW IDEAS MY WAY TO GET THE PROCESS STARTED FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME AT profgizmo8@aol.com CONSTRUCTING AN AUTO IS NO PROBLEM, HOWEVER THE IMPORTANCE OF THE HEAT TO IMPROVE THE COMBUSTION TO INCREASE GAS MILEAGE WOULD REQUIRE SOME ASSISTANCE. ANY IDEAS LET ME KNOW.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I have a 1992 Honda Civic VX model that consistently averages 42 mpg. This is combined city/hwy. It's close to 50 hwy only. Imagine if it were made out of lighteight materials...
      • 8 Years Ago
      This really isn't much different than other STUNTS such as driving a diesel Jaguar and get better than usual mileage.

      We all get that Caterham makes sports cars, and maybe there should be much rejoice for achieving 131 mpg. However, we all should remind ourselves that the reason it got such good stats is not just because it's a light weight vehicle, but because it was driven very gingerly. To turn the table: judging from those skinny tires, this version of the Caterham would not do as well as other versions cornering on the track.

      The use of the Caterham name is really just a ploy, but not really proving that there is some kind of innovation behind the stunt.

      My point here is that the REAL story is more about having a light weight car pairing with a small engine is the age-old sure-win method in achieve high mileage. Right now, if we replace any small car with expensive lightweight materials, it, too, will get better mileage than the regular versions of the same car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I had a 90 Mitsubishi gas burner that got 40 mpg. It would run the wheels off any 4 cyl on the road. Now 4 cyl cost twice the price, get half that mpg. The same gas I bought for that car has more than doubled since then. Hmmmmmmmmm I wonder if the oil comp. had anything to do with THAT!
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Car Companies had the technology to mass produce the High Mileage Per Gallon Cars YEARS ago,but Did they no, they bought-up all the ideas and patents, because the car companies and the OIL companies are in (BED)together so as to keep things PROFITABLE for them, and WE pay the PRICE and believe when they say we can only squeeze x# of Gallons out of a 4 Cylinder, has anyone pursued the Perpetual MOTION car, I've not seen anything, why, Because, It's not PROFITABLE to either the car Manufactuers or the OIL Companies, What about a CAr that BURNS water!!!!!!!!!If you have a flame HOT enough you can BURN MOST anything.........FOOD for THOUGHT!!!!!!!!!!!thats all I Have, I'm Back to RIDING a Bicycle for the time Being, LOL Harry
      thelonelyone1851
      • 8 Years Ago
      Those 1970s and 1980s econoboxes never got the mileage they were supposed to.The 1977 Honda Civic CVCC never got 55 mpg,and a Starlet never got 57 mpg,it was the lousy way that the EPA rated the cars fuel economy that lead to outrageously high numbers.Remember,these cars also came with a mighty 50-60 hp as opposed to todays 95-115.A Charger 2.2 was rated at 40mpg,a K-car at 36,and a Volare 6 cylinder at 24.The "experimental" Dart Lite and Feather Duster were supposed to get 30 back in 1976,using just a lighter hood,bumpers and a tiny carb.The average driver would have to floor the slant 6 to go anywhere,so that 30mpg was a fantasy.Also,1960 Falcons were supposed to get 30mpg and Corvairs about the same.Corvairs were thirsty (as were Beetles),they never got what they were supposed to.I doubt any of those cars delivered that on a daily basis.
      the focus destroyer B-)
      well, i have an svt focus with a 2.0 litre engine and it gets about 20 mpg at about 70 mph, with the stock 17 inch tires on it, and 75 lbs of sound system in the trunk :-D so let them beat that
      • 8 Years Ago
      Your comments: I had a used, unmodified Chevett diesel which regularly gave me 50 to
      55 mpg. What happened to these cars?

      I also had a Geo Metro
      that would regularly get me 60 to 63 mpg.

      So what is all
      this hype about hybreds getting 45 to 55 mpg.?

      I am sure that
      either of these engines in the Caterham Seven would do even
      better.

      The diesel is also a cleaner engine (other than a
      little diesel smoke, Which is only a little ash.)
      • 8 Years Ago
      Chapman's design (mimicking the Austin 7's he cut his teeth on) has never done one half of 130mpg that I know of. I'd like to hear that they used some extreme tuning and that the engine is sustainable at that level of lean. I agree that the secret to high mileage is low weight, but it's also low frontal area, minimal rotational mass at the wheels, low rolling resistance. So shouldn't those be targets in the current batch of hybrids and next gen of electrics? What happens if you switch a Prius' 175/65-14's to 155/80-15's, or maybe MG TC tires 4.5x19" with some wind cheater discs?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Not bad, better then my honda Insight at 66 MPg, @70 moh on the Us highway. Wonder what it would do as a hybred?. in full production? with an F16 canopy?
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