Eco Illini unveils new car at Shell Eco Marathon


Maddie Yang

Last month, the Eco Illini Supermileage team raced their brand new car, “G6,” in the Shell Eco Marathon competition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was the first new car the team had built since COVID, and the car was designed, built, and raced in just one academic year.

Eco Illini Supermileage TeamThe Shell Eco Marathon competition lasts five days, including rigorous technical inspections as well as raceday competitions. The Eco Illini spent the first two days attempting to pass technical inspections and after the second day were able to successfully drive on the practice course. During their practice runs they found a structural issue with their car but were able to fully implement a steel frame while at competition. On day four they were able to drive on the track before running into some issues which prevented them from finishing, including a bolt issue and gear fatigue failure. The team worked hard to get back on the track for day five, but unfortunately the last day was canceled due to rain.

“My favorite part of competition was actually driving on the track; the first launch off the start line is a great feeling, because you release all the stress from the previous year,” said Graham Campbell, president of the organization.

Overall, the team is happy with their new car, and despite not completing a run, there were significant improvements compared to the previous cars to be proud of, including a custom engine control unit which was designed, built, and programmed by the electrical team, and implementation of a new engine, steering system, and aerodynamic package, which reduced drag by 30 percent. The team also grew in numbers this year, with a significant increase in first-year student involvement, allowing them to expand their capabilities.

The Eco Illini would like to thank the MechSE department, as well as Engineering Design Council (EDC), the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC), STMicroelectronics, Milwaukee Tool, and Caterpillar Inc. for their generous contributions that allowed them to compete this year.

Additionally, a congratulations to the seniors on the team who recently graduated!

  • Graham Campbell (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Bruno Funez (Mechanical Engineering)
  • David Messerschmidt (Computer Engineering)
  • Leo Zhenn Zhe (Mechanical Engineering)