Male driver holds helmet next to car

Team TIM UPS INSA, stunned Shell Eco-marathon Europe in 2019, winning the Battery Electric category in the Regional competition with their Urban Concept car.

TIM UPS INSA brought two cars to the competition. Their Prototype vehicle placed third in the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) category, and won the Technical Innovation Off-Track award. Their second car competed in the Battery Electric Urban Concept category and also made it to the prestigious Shell Eco-marathon World Championship where they place second against international rivals.

We speak to two of the French team’s key members and go Under The Hood, to tell you what it takes to become an award winning Shell Eco-marathon team.


Car Type: Urban Concept

Energy Category: Battery Electric

2019 Accomplishments: 

  • 1st place Battery Electric Urban Concept category, Shell Eco-marathon Europe
  • 2nd Place Shell Eco-marathon World Championship
  • Winner: Technical Innovation Off-Track Award
TIM UPS INSA Team Leader talking on microphone

Esteban Fontanellas – Team Manager

Esteban, what do you do?

I’m the VP of logistics. This means I’m working with the car and the project, but as well as that I look after the administration for the team and the travelling, and talking to a lot of the sponsors. People who might be interested in funding us!

Also I’ve been working across the autonomous vehicle project that we are working on for next year.

Tell us about your season

We did a lot of work, we had to develop a new electrical motor and vehicle to present for the Urban Concept Battery Electric Category, and adapt it to the new rules. The journey ended in the Shell Eco-marathon, working a lot for a week, and then seeing the results of the work we had put in over the whole year. Our performance was awesome, we worked well as a team, and received really, really good results.

What was the highlight of your year? 

The big moment was participating in a team. We worked hard for a year, then worked harder and had no sleep for a week for the Eco-marathon, then celebrated hard. After one year together you make good friends, so it’s even better to enjoy success with friends.

The celebration was for beating the world record in the Regional competition, Urban Concept Battery Electric category, and improving our Prototype vehicle to get it to 3rd place. Also second place in the World Championship, as well as the innovation prize. It was a very very good year.

What did you learn from Shell Eco-marathon?

I learnt you have to stay calm. Each problem has a solution, so stay calm so you can come up with the best solution.

What is next for you? 

Next for me I’ll finish university, I’m in my fourth year. I’m ready to take my place in the working world! I love working on the autonomous car so would love to find a job in autonomous systems, not just cars but drones and other things, I’d like to take part in the 4.0 industry.

Who is your hero?

I like anyone who can create something successful just using their imagination.

What is the best thing about Shell Eco-marathon?

It has a big impact on people, it gives people a new idea about performance. When you buy a car you don’t think about engine performance being about ‘energy’ so I think it’s good that it makes you think this way. It also forces you to embrace teamwork and collaboration with other teams.

What would you say to anyone thinking about  joining Shell Eco-marathon?

It’s something complicated that involves hard work, but it’s an amazing experience, and gives you back a lot more than you put in. Do not discourage yourself because it seems hard. It’s a very good experience.

Insa Toulouse mechanic working on car

Francesc Garrido : Team Member, Mechanic


What do you do?

I was in charge of the engine performance, during the competition, mainly working on motor performance. In the evening after the race I would look at data from our telemetry systems and then tell our drivers and our mechanics about how we could be doing better.

I was also part of the management structure for some years. This is my fourth Shell Eco-marathon, so I’m able to bring technical knowhow and experience to new members of the team.

Tell us about your season

We started the season with a lot of work on the smaller car (Prototype), but we were having problems with Urban Concept – it wasn’t our main focus, so we weren’t looking at it that much – but then halfway throughout the year our minds turned to Ferrari. We’d been flown out to Maranello (Location of Ferrari HQ) once before as a reward for being one of the World Championship winning teams, so we set it as a target as we wanted to go again! So, we started looking at the power unit for the Urban Concept [Battery] Electric, and did a lot of hours of work.

We won the Battery Electric category in the Regional competition, were second in the World Championship and won the Technical Innovation Off-Track award. And our Prototype came third in the Internal Combustion Engine category. It was an amazing experience.

What was your highlight? 

My highlight was winning the Technical Innovation Off-Track prize for our carbon fibre rod. We hadn’t won it since 2002, so it was great that the team had the chance to win it and be competitive on track, it made it all an incredible competition. 

What did you learn from Shell Eco-marathon?

As a leader I learned to be calm under pressure. When I started, I would be excited and have drive and energy, but unable to translate it into performance, and over the years you learn more about how to work as a team and work together to achieve incredible things.

Insa Toulouse driver looks out from cockpit

What would you like to do next?

I think I’d like to work in Formula 1. That would be my dream. What I’m working at now is interesting, I work in the future projects office at Airbus, so see incredible things every day. But I think Shell Eco-marathon has been such a deep experience that I want to keep working in this green energy industry.

Who is your hero?

Elon Musk. Or anyone who pushes the limits of innovation.

What is the best thing about Shell Eco-marathon?

I think Shell Eco-marathon changes your mentality. As a student, we don’t usually see the aspects of how the system you are conceiving will consume energy, or the importance of that. Shell Eco-marathon allows you to change your mentality, to say, “yes we could do that thing, but if we could do it with less energy, that would be better.

And I think what you are able to see in the team, when you’ve got people who have worked around Shell Eco-marathon, is that when people leave and work for a company, they keep the Shell Eco-marathon mentality of keeping things light, and pushing for innovation and also being as energy efficient as possible. 

What would you say to anyone considering taking part in Shell Eco-marathon?

Just go for it. Ask for help from more established teams. Participating in Shell Eco-marathon is a life-changing experience. It was my Shell Eco-marathon experience that got me into a six-month internship at Airbus. 

Almost everyone I know working in the industry is in their position thanks to the Shell Eco-marathon.

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