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Schluckspecht celebrates successes

25. September 2019

Team Schluckspecht has reached its maximum goal at the Shell Eco-Marathon Europe 2019 in Weybridge/Great Britain: In the end the team from the University of Applied Sciences Offenburg landed on rank 3.

The jubilation on Thursday evening was huge: After four classification runs, the Schluckspecht team finished third in the Urban Concept class with combustion engine, thus improving the team by one place compared to last year.

As always, the range competition was about covering as long a distance as possible with one litre of fuel. A wide variety of factors take part here, including the weight of the car and driver, aerodynamics and driving at as even a speed as possible. Claus Fleig, project manager, summed up the essentials briefly as follows: “Who brakes loses”.

Unlike last year in London, this time the circuit was not a city route but a circuit on the Mercedes test site in Weybridge. On this track, the distance of 1.5 kilometres, a whole 600 metres longer than last year, had to be covered within a given time. During the preparations in Offenburg, the 40-man team had precisely measured the length, width, curve radius and height profiles of the track with the help of Google Earth and simulated how many starts and “sailing phases” are necessary for an optimal result. In addition, a second door had to be installed in the Schluckspecht V due to a rule change.

In the first race on Wednesday morning, the Schluckspecht finished third, just behind the second placed team ITIP L. Bucci from Italy. The second race brought the participants even closer together, the Schluckspecht slipped to rank 4. In the third race the Schluckspecht was pushed away by an opposing vehicle on Thursday morning. The team from Offenburg was therefore awarded an additional attempt, which in the end was not needed at all. Despite the incident, the team was again on rank 3 after the end of the third race: The favoured and until then clearly leading team from Denmark was disqualified because of a slight unsportsmanship in the meantime. However, the “DTU Roadrunners” were allowed to compete again in the fourth race and won the overall victory (429 kilometres/litre). Second was the Lycée Louis Delage from France (339 kilometres/litre). But because the Schluckspecht team mobilized all its strength once again, it was still enough to overtake the Italian team in the end. With 270 kilometres/litre they made six kilometres further and finished third, “That’s absolutely great”, project manager Claus Fleig was pleased about the improvement by one place and 50 kilometres compared to last year.

Thanks to this success, Team Schluckspecht was also qualified for the “Drivers’ World Championship”, which was held in Weybridge on Friday evening. In this competition, the three best cars in the world from the categories combustion engine, battery electric and fuels competed against each other in a single race. The Offenburg team was lucky in the draw for the starting positions and was able to start from the third of a total of nine places. The race went over seven laps. Each team received exactly the amount of energy it needed for its best run in the range competition. The aim of the race was to reach the finish as quickly as possible and without having to lie still, thanks to an empty tank. By a super racing strategy and the constant contact with the driver over the team radio from the pit lane the Schluckspecht drove in the end a great fifth place.