Peugeot has kicked off a hunt to find drivers for its first European "eco" driving challenge – a 1000-km course from Paris to Geneva using as little fuel as possible.

Seventy-two entrants will be selected from 18 European countries to drive the route, which will set off from Paris on February 28. The convoy will arrive in Geneva 30-36 hours later on March 1, and the fuel tanks of the participating vehicles will be measured. The winner in each of the four categories – who will have used the least fuel – will be presented with a new car at the Geneva  International Motor Show, which begins on March 2.

Applicants can register online at, selecting one of four Peugeot vehicles (categories)  they wish to compete in – the 207 HDi 90, 308 HDi 110, 3008 HDi 110 or the 5008 HDi 110. Registration must be completed, alongside a 140-word description of what makes a good "ecodriver," by February 10. The progress and updates from teams will be displayed on a dedicated Facebook page, which will also offers hints and tips on driving in a more ecologically friendly fashion.

Peugeot’s challenge is a twist on the Shell Eco-marathon, an established contest sponsored by oil giant Shell, in which high school and college teams compete to design, build and drive vehicles that go the furthest distance with the least amount of energy. The next contest will be held in Houston, TX, USA from March 26-28, 2010 and is expected to make its Asian debut later on in the year.

The concept has also received some high-profile media adaptations – US talk show host and driving aficionado Jay Leno introduced a regular "Green Car Challenge" on his program and BBC show Top Gear featured a segment where the presenters competed to drive from Switzerland to Britain on one tank of fuel.

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