Usually Shell Oil's annual international fuel economy challenge is all about flimsy three-wheel extreme-aerodynamics specials. In fact, French team Microjoule won this year with a mark of 8,263 miles per gallon (0.03 liters per 100km).
So what was a 115hp Caterham Seven doing out on the track in Rockingham, England? About 100 miles per gallon (2.3 liters per 100km).
Yes, French driver Floriane Decq weighs a mere 50kg, but the 1.6-liter two-seat open-bodied Caterham is not exactly the most aerodynamic body shape on the road. The lightweight Caterham normally gets 38 miles per gallon. But Decq, a post-graduate engineer at Cranfield University, almost tripled that efficiency with an unusual driving style: accelerate on full throttle in second gear to 40kph, then switch off the engine and coast down to 16kph before restarting and accelerating again.