Football legend Pelé kicked off Shell’s ‘Make the Future’ event at London’s Olympic Park, featuring an eco-marathon challenge on a track specially laid over a weekend.
The three-time World Cup winner flew in from Brazil to launch the event, which runs from 30 June to 3 July.
A competitor joins the eco challenge track
The eco-marathon student mileage challenge saw more than 200 teams and 3,000 students from all over Europe compete to design and build the most fuel-efficient vehicles.
The 2.24km, 7.5m-wide track was laid within 48 hours using Shell Bitumen Low Temperature Binder to cool quickly to ambient temperature.
The competition has featured cars in two categories, each of which can use a range of energy sources from gasoline, diesel and battery power to hydrogen, ethanol and compressed natural gas (CNG).
Cars in the Prototype category were low-slung and aerodynamic, with only enough room for a driver to lie down. The UrbanConcept category has featured cars that look more like road-going models.
Emma Mallinson, regional marketing manager Europe/Africa for Shell Bitumen, said: 'The theme of "Make the Future London" neatly sums up the work that our scientists and engineers are carrying out in developing bitumens to meet the challenges of a growing global population and increased city living.
'We are particularly delighted to have laid the track for this year’s event and to showcase some of our technology innovations that make road building more efficient with less energy and greater durability.'
Shell is the world’s largest bitumen marketer and operates one of the world’s largest bitumen-dedicated research and development centres in Bangalore, India.
The company said an estimated 50,000 people would attend the event over the course of the competition.
Also present at the event was TV presenter Rachel Riley. The England football team was not invited.