In previous years, the UK’s most prestigious lean-driving challenge has attracted celebrities, motoring journalists, academics and senior figures from the automotive industry, all striving to see if they could complete the chosen route using as little fuel as possible.
Now the call to enter invites anyone with an interest in showing off their eco-driving skills and beating the standards set by previous winners.
The event is open to fleet managers, representatives from fleet services, contract hire and leasing and fleet management companies, and from the motor industry, plus anyone associated with it.
The bar is set very high as last year’s event was won by Nick Chapman and Rosemary Homer from Leicestershire County Council who achieved an amazing average of 88.69mpg over the total route of 339.3 miles. Driving a Ford Fiesta ECOnetic 1.6 diesel-engined Titanium model, they out-performed the field of 23 other vehicles with a dazzling array of lean-driving skills.
The MPG Marathon, now in its fourteenth year, takes place on Wednesday 8th October and Thursday 9th October, when it will be based at the luxurious Cotswold Water Park Four Pillars Hotel, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire.
This year’s 360-mile route begins at Cirencester and takes in the Brecon Beacons in Wales plus a number of points in between, but contestants are allowed to plan their own routes, provided they include a number of pre-agreed, fixed points. So keen navigational skills will be important.
New for this year, and symptomatic of the growing interest in the area of alternative fuelled vehicles, are three new classes: for electric vehicles, range extenders and plug-in hybrids.
They will be joining the more familiar diesel and petrol engined cars and vans that traditionally take part in the event.
There are eight main classes of passenger cars in this year’s MPG Marathon, restricted to a maximum carbon ceiling of 190g/km, as follows:
Class 1: Passenger cars powered by petrol with CO2 emissions of 110g/km or less
Class 2: Passenger cars powered by petrol with CO2 emissions of 111g/km or more
Class 3: Passenger cars powered by diesel with CO2 emissions of 110g/km or less
Class 4: Passenger cars powered by diesel with CO2 emissions of 111g/km or more
Class 5: Passenger cars powered by hybrid drive systems
Class 6: Passenger cars powered by diesel with CO2 emissions of 111g/km or more
Class 7: Passenger cars powered by range-extender hybrid drive systems
Class 8: Fully electric vehicles.
There are also five classes of light commercial vehicles, which will not have a carbon ceiling, as follows:
Class 9 Light vans and car-derived vans – GVW of less than 2001kg
Class 10: Small vans – GVW between 2001kg and 2600kg
Class 11: Medium vans – GVW between 2601kg and 2800kg
Class 12: Medium vans – GVW between 2801kg and 3499kg
Class 13: Large Vans – GVW of 3500kg
Event organiser, Ross Durkin said: ‘This year’s MPG marathon presents an outstanding opportunity to showcase the very latest developments in alternative fuelled vehicles against the more conventional but increasingly fuel-efficient internal combustion-engined models.
‘Fuel prices have seldom been far from the top of everyone’s agenda, be they fleet manager or private motorist. It’s a rising cost that nobody can ignore, but the combination of fuel-efficient cars, advanced fuels, route planning technology and eco-driving skills mean that fuel is a cost that can be successfully managed.
‘This year’s MPG marathon will demonstrate how both vehicle and driver can make a massive difference to fuel costs and emissions and just how effectively that cost can be managed by achieving exceptional fuel consumption.
‘As with last year’s event, competitors will be again required to find their own route between a series of fixed points, in much the same way that any normal driver would be required to do.
‘The minimum, straight-line distance between them will again be around 360 miles in total, but navigators will be allowed to choose a longer route if they feel it will result in a better fuel-saving performance – by avoiding congested town centres, for example.
‘All cars will again be fitted with Tracker tracking equipment, so we will know exactly where each car has been and how far it has travelled.
‘Entries are now open and we look forward to welcoming a varied but highly competitive field to this year’s event,’ said Durkin.
For more details of the MPG Marathon please phone 01727 739160, or visit the event website at http://www.thempgmarathon.co.uk/