The inaugural Singapore G1 raises awareness for greener transportation habits and technology.
Contributed By Jezreel Teng
|CN PHOTO: Jere Chong|
The Singapore G1, the first-ever green race of its kind in Singapore, got off to a rolling start with Dr. Amy Khor, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources flagging off the two intriguing races; the G1 Trishaw Race 2010, and the G1 Buggy Race 2010 at the Float @ Marina Bay. Organizations from embassies to corporate sponsors and partners were well represented in these races, with the Australian High Commission and Nu Skin Enterprises Singapore coming out tops in the Trishaw Race and the Buggy Race respectively.
Held right before the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix, the G1 aims to raise awareness of cutting down on carbon emissions in Singapore. The organizer, Singapore Environment Council, managed to place their environmental message of the impact of urban transportation at the forefront of the public’s attention through these races on Sunday Sep. 19. Participants of the aforementioned trishaw and buggy races; the G1-SHELL Eco Car Race in which eight tertiary teams tore up the tracks in their eco-cars, fuelled by anything from conventional petrol, bio-fuels, solar power to hydrogen cells; and the first-ever Soapbox Derby in Asia also got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to race on part of the F1 track.
The highlight of the G1 had to be the introduction of the soapbox cars. The Singapore G1 Soapbox Derby 2010 saw 28 secondary schools vying for top spot in this unique form of locomotion. With only a month, teams comprising five students and a teacher, assembled the soapbox cars from the given kits, optimized their race performance, and furnished them with a coat of creativity. Racing on the F1 track was like a dream come true for these passionate youths.
These soapbox cars are judged not just on the result of the race, but for the aesthetic appeal of their creative design as well. Koh Gim Koon, a teacher at Tampines Secondary School, was extremely pleased with the performance of his students. “Unlike other teams, which are mostly CCA clubs in their respective schools, my team is made up of students from my class. Nevertheless, with hard work and teamwork, we are proud to have come this far, placing in the top eight.”
The team hailing from Greenridge Secondary School clinched top honors when their soapbox car, propelled only by the power of gravity, blazed past the competition, covering 100 meters in a time of 16.48 seconds. A lot of the soapbox car’s performance hinges on the ability of the driver, and Muhd Firdaus Zulkfle, the driver and his team absolutely deserved their title as the first ever G1 Soapbox Derby champions.
“Urban transportation accounts for 20 percent of total carbon emissions in Singapore and with an increasing number of vehicles on the road, this figure is bound to rise. In line with the government’s plans to reduce carbon emissions by 16 percent below projected business-as-usual levels by 2020, SEC is spearheading this race for green with the Singapore G1,” said Howard Shaw, executive director of SEC. “Through fun and exciting races such as the Soap Box Derby and the Singapore G1-SHELL Eco Car Race, we hope to engage and inspire the community to make lifestyle changes and reduce their carbon footprint. Although there is still a long way to go before technologies for green vehicles are fully commercialized, it is important to focus immediately on existing technologies and to encourage the public to embrace greener options of traveling.”
The public also had a chance to feast their eyes on upcoming green technology with organizations such as EV Hub, GREEN.er HCG Pte Ltd and Toyota Tsusho (Singapore) Pte Ltd exhibiting environmentally-friendly electric vehicles which could very well be the future of transportation in Singapore.
Three thousand brisk-walkers comprising students and residents from the North West Community Development Council, and more than 100 cyclists signaled their commitment to this green cause by hitting the roads and converging at the Float @ Marina Bay from three different locations.
With such strong support from the public and different organizations, the future looks clean and bright for the Singapore G1. Plans are in the works to make it an annual event, and slated foreign racing teams will up the ante with their participation in next year’s races.