Team builds towards race
by Citlali Moreno and Sofia Cuevas
Select auto shop members will participate in the annual Shell Eco-Marathon competition April 18-21 at the Sonoma Raceway amongst teams representing colleges and other high schools from across the nation and Canada.
Out of about 100 teams, only 29 are from high schools. The rest of the teams represent colleges ranging from two-year schools to those from Ivy League.
Shell Oil Company researchers in Wood River, IL, decided to have a race in 1939 to see which of their cars could travel the longest distance with only one gallon of fuel. Today, the competition is still held, having spread throughout the country and into Canada, Asia and Europe.
This year’s team consists of eight members: seniors Patrick Cruz, Maicol Farfan, Christian Garcia, Christian Navas, Anthony Reyes, junior Orlando Aspericueta, and sophomores Hugo Cervantes and Sean Nakashimo. All team members volunteered to take part.
Since 2008, Schurr has competed in the Eco-Marathon; however, this will be their first time back after a four-year hiatus.
“We’ve beaten Berkeley before, more than once. The Cal-States have rarely ever beaten us,” said Armando Hernandez, auto shop teacher.
As a requirement for competition, all cars must have a licensed student driver. Being the only person on the team with a license, Nakashimo has the position of driver.
“I’m not nervous about being the driver,” said Nakashimo. “Each person has a part; everybody teaches and helps each other, and if everyone does their assigned part, everything should come out fine.”
Not only do team members spend time working during school hours, but they also come on Saturdays to make adjustments to their car. Once at the raceway, they will still need to repair any damage which occurred when transporting the vehicle.
“I feel nervous because it’s my first time competing,” said Farfan. “No one here has been to the competition before, so it’s all new.”
Because of the four-year break, any student who had participated before has graduated, leaving the new team to learn for themselves on how the competition works.
“It’s about how prepared you are and the pressures you will face; you can’t let it get to you.” Aspericueta explained.
Other participants greatly value the experience with their team.
“We keep each other on task and learned how to work in teams, making everything easier,” said Cruz. “Winning would be a big deal for the whole team.”
The car is being funded by grants from the school district and the team also reuses old parts from past cars to build the one they will compete with this year.