After being turned down for a place at the University of Central Lancashire, presenter and comedian Alex Brooker was on campus to meet the “brilliant” students hoping to take the international racing circuit by storm.
Alex, famous for co-hosting The Last Leg, was helping students get in gear and complete their energy-efficient car, ahead of the Shell Eco-marathon.
The iconic competition will be in London for the first time in its 30-year history and, to celebrate, Rachel Riley and Alex Brooker are taking the recently-unveiled Shell Concept Car on the road for the first time, meeting students across the country.
Alex said: “When I was at university I spent three years getting drunk, and when I met these guys it puts it into context.
“They are making technology that will go into cars in the future, and learning these incredible skills.
“I went into the car earlier - it’s tight in there.
“One of the students told me a story about how they once got a bee in it and there’s no windows to let it out - that sounds like a horror film to me.”
He said he was impressed by the technology that had gone into building the car, as well as the time and effort of the students.
He said: “These guys from UCLan should be off for the summer, and they’ve stayed to work on the car.
“I like that dedication, it’s something I didn’t have myself, they are passionate about the project and I really admire that.” Alex, who said he was turned down from UCLan’s journalism course in 2002 as his AS Level results weren’t good enough, said: “The students are absolutely brilliant.”
The Shell Eco-marathon Europe challenges students to design and build ultra-energy efficient cars, then drive them on a purpose-built track to see which can travel the furthest on the least amount of fuel.
This year, it will be showcased at Make the Future London, at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from June 30 to July 3.
Norman Koch, technical director of Shell Eco-marathon, said the most successful teams had completed the 10-mile track on just a teaspoon of fuel. He said: “We want to inspire the young engineers of tomorrow to look into what’s one of the biggest challenges of the world - meeting the energy demand, but decarbonise it.”
Dan Heywood, 23, has completed his motorsports engineering degree, and has offered advice to the students taking part.
He said: “I think they are going to do well this year.”