An In-Depth Look at a Hydrogen Combustion Race Engine

This week in sustainable motorsport features an in-depth look at a hydrogen combustion race engine, an innovative Japanese race program combining anime with electric racing as well as a look at designing a Formula E powertrain.

It’s all in the latest edition of the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Your source for sustainable high performance motorsport news.

Sustainable Motorsport News

HIGHSPEED Etoile Racing

As the premiere of the HIGHSPEED Étoile racing anime quickly approaches, the project will also bring its presence to real-life race tracks in 2024 in the form of HIGHSPEED Étoile Racing run by Platinum Factory Co., Ltd. The team hopes to develop and support female drivers, which will be reflected in their inaugural lineup of Kotomi Maeda and Ai Shimizu. Kohta Kawaai, the 2023 Super GT champion in the GT300 class, will serve as team director.

On the sustainable motorsport front, the team also plans to field electric cars in the All Japan EV-GP Series and All Japan Karting Championship‘s EV division. Their début will come at Tsukuba Circuit with the All Japan EV-GP Series on 27 April. The All Japan Karting Championship season begins at City Circuit Tokyo Bay on 2 June.

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup
Green My Plate, an organization dedicated to eliminating single-use packaging, provided fans with reusable plates and bowls across the event

The F1 website explains how Australian Grand Prix organizers dealt with the significant problem of the waste generated from the 452,055 fans visiting Albert Park over the weekend.

“You can take it back a couple of years, where we’ve come from on our journey towards overall sustainability, and it was initially driven by staff of the Australian Grand Prix who wanted to see change, to inspire innovation and understand our overall impact,” AGPC’s Sustainability Manager Sarah Lowe says. “We’re a major event and with that does come a large environmental impact. As a result, we’ve spent the last few years identifying our overall footprint and we’ve done that through a range of greenhouse gas counts and of waste generated in operations. These are key areas of opportunity for major events.”

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Alex Salvini, FIM Sustainability Ambassador, has inaugurated his Enduro Academy in technical partnership with FIM Ride Green with an important goal front and foremost. This is to introduce students to the practice of sustainable enduro, incorporating topics oriented to the protection of biodiversity, the responsible practice of enduro and a sound knowledge of the FIM regulations.

The academy will prioritize environmental protection, with a particular emphasis on biodiversity. It will dedicate ample time to discussing regulations and guidelines, ensuring that the academy adheres to the highest environmental standards.

Other activities will include:
• Review of the Environmental Code
• Reduction of plastic consumption
• Gender inclusion
• Local economy support
• KM0 food
• Support of local producers
• Waste management plan
• Respect of the protected areas
• Plus others…

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Systems integrator Bell Integration has announced a three-year strategic partnership with UK-based GT team Forsetti Motorsport. “The collaboration aims to promote sustainability within Forsetti’s racing ecosystem by advancing eco-friendly practices through digital innovation, AV infrastructure and IT support. Forsetti has joined forces with Aston Martin Racing as an official partner team, which is set to compete in multiple GT Championships across the UK and Europe.”

Yamaha Motor Europe

Yamaha Motor Europe has been awarded ISO 20121 certification for sustainable event management for the FIM Yamaha R3 bLU cRU World Cup and Yamaha’s Racing Hospitality operation in the FIM Superbike World Championship.

ISO 20121 is an International Standards Organization beacon for sustainable event management which guides organizations to seamlessly integrate sustainability into every facet of their event planning and execution. Taking into consideration social, economic, and environmental impacts, the standard encourages practices which are more ethical, eco-friendly, and socially conscious, reducing the environmental impact of events.

“Having achieved two important ISO 20121 certifications for sustainable event management at the very first European Superbike World Championship event is something that we as a company are particularly proud of. The FIM R3 bLU cRU World Cup is something that, for Yamaha, goes beyond simply racing. The series is proof of our commitment to offering young riders an affordable platform to make the transition to racing on the world stage, but it’s also important to share with them and others the message that it is possible to race in a more sustainable way. The same is true of our corporate hospitality, which hosts both our race teams and our guests during every WorldSBK race weekend. Thanks to the ISO 20121 certification, we have now significantly reduced the environmental impact while still offering a great experience.”

Julia Palle

Two weeks ago I featured Part 1 of an interview with FIA Formula E’s Vice President of Sustainability, Julia Palle. In the second and final part of Motorsport Monday’s exclusive interview, FIA Formula E’s VP of Sustainability, Julia Palle, discusses moving its HQ to Valencia, the GEN4 era and the sport’s recent recognition as the most sustainable sporting entity on the planet. Unfortunately, the NXT Gen Cup support series that Julia talks about has since been canceled for 2024 (see below).

“Having Valencia as our technical hub and logistics HQ is fantastic from a logistical point of view because 70 to 75 per cent of the main share of the carbon footprint of the championship is due to logistics. Having our hub based in Europe, where it’s going to be far easier to operate, will mean that next season, we will have a much more seamless operation in terms of sustainability and how we can organize the logistics around the world with far more sea freight which is going back to the wider objective linked to our ongoing Net Zero commitment and reducing the CO2 emission, always in line with science-based targets.”

Global Sustainable Sport asks the question, does sport need to find alternatives to offsetting? “It’s clear that there are still many ongoing problems when it comes to transparency around offsetting in the industry. Some argue that sport needs to be far more careful about using these sorts of schemes.”

A major part of motorsport’s carbon footprint is the logistics behind getting the cars and bikes to the track. UK logistics company Fagan & Whalley explains why you shouldn’t ignore sustainable logistics in 2024.

“At its core, sustainable logistics encompasses adopting eco-friendly and efficient practices across the entire supply chain. Essentially, it’s about the steps a logistics provider takes to lessen their environmental footprint. This includes a holistic approach to this goal, including factors such as vehicle efficiency and alternative fuels, optimised routing and reduced empty-running, to lighting and recycling practices.”

Ever considered how environmental sustainability can be integrated into esports as well as traditional sports? Or how fast sports venues are adopting renewable energy? Esports sustainability, heat-related risk and renewable energy are the focus of the latest edition of the Sport Ecology Group’s Research Review. The Sustainability Report provides a summary of the Review here. These Reviews serve as a brief summary of interesting and recent academic research that touch upon anything sport and sustainability.

Sustainable Motorsport Tech

AVL High Performance Hydrogen Combustion Engine

PMW Magazine goes in depth examining AVL’s 150kW/liter Hydrogen ICE power unit. “AVL’s Rene Heindl, senior development engineer for spark ignition engines, takes up the story: “The project has been completed in roughly one year. It was a real challenge, 300kW out of a two-liter engine, which is a huge output for a hydrogen engine, especially with the somewhat unconventional approach we have chosen – stoichiometric combustion of hydrogen.””

An In-Depth Look at a Hydrogen Combustion Race Engine

In 2018, TotalEnergies became the control fuel supplier to the World Endurance Championship. Then, in 2022, the company introduced its sustainable Excellium Racing 100 blend. This year, the fuel made from wine industry biomass will also power the GT World Challenge. This latest play looks set to cement its dominance of a ‘greener’ sportscar scene.

“This fuel was designed as a high-end racing fuel, and to be transparent for the teams. So in terms of performance and consumption, honestly, it’s probably not even 1% one way or the other. It’s very much on the same level, and that was one of the important points in the development plan. We wouldn’t expect the drivers to feel any differences. The aim was not to make a more powerful fuel. All along it was about maintaining the performance target.”

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Formula E has has announced a multi-year deal with leading global energy solutions provider Aggreko to provide the latest sustainable technology to its events globally.

“To power select races, Aggreko will be supplying six 300kVA batteries to charge all Formula E cars, as well as varying battery sizes to power the overall circuit at race locations. Each battery is capable of charging four race cars simultaneously, the equivalent of powering 84,000 mobile phones.”

Energy Digital has more details of Aggreko’s involvement with the series.

“The batteries supplied to Formula E are backed up via Stage V Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) powered generators, infrastructure which emits 90% less CO₂ emissions compared to diesel. Aggreko technology will help power all elements of Formula E events — from cars, on-site hospitality, the fan village, energy points, timing and camera points — as part of the collaborative effort to ensure Formula E is as efficient and sustainable as possible.”

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Nissan Formula E Chief Powertrain Engineer Tadashi Nishikawa talks Formula E powertrain design and the intersection of automotive and motorsport engineering.

“On the racing side, we use the technology in its most advanced form. We worry less about cost, or NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). In terms of efficiency and power density, Formula E operates at a much higher level, compared to road cars. This means we can see what is possible if we only focus on performance. Then, we can think about how to adapt for passenger vehicles, while keeping cost and NVH down. We view this as an advantage, compared to other manufacturers not in Formula E. We can understand the limits of our technology, push it further and further, gaining experience that helps us optimize our road cars.”

Sustainable Racing

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Hyundai Motor Company unveiled the Ioniq 5 N eN1 Cup car at the official practice round for teams participating in the Hyundai N Festival motorsport event. The electric race car is based on the Ioniq 5 N high-performance electric vehicle (EV).

“The Hyundai N Festival will feature the eN1 class, providing professional drivers with an opportunity to experience EV racing. The upcoming season will serve as a trial period, allowing teams to test and improve the eN1 Cup car while developing infrastructure and emergency response protocols for EV racing.”

For more on the Ioniq 5 N eN1 Cup Car, check out the track test I linked to in yesterday’s Racecraft & Race Cars Roundup.

Series News

An In-Depth Look at a Hydrogen Combustion Race Engine

As Formula E is rumored to be replacing the London ExCeL Arena with Silverstone as their UK home, series CEO Feff Dodds has revealed that the 12th spot on the grid is for sale.

“Formula E was offering the spot on its own grid for between €20mn to €30mn, Dodds said. However, the company would also take into account the potential benefits new teams could bring to grow the wider sport in the form of hospitality and brand recognition. Formula E caps annual team spending at the equivalent of $14mn, whereas F1 teams are capped at around $140mn this season.”

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Autosport looks at the significance of Lola and Yamaha’s Formula E project. “Those two coming together in partnership was big news for us,” says Formula E CEO Jeff Dodds. “The timing is perfect for the start of Gen4 [in 2026] and I’ve got a feeling they’ll be pretty competitive because they’ve been developing and testing that powertrain – they’re not starting now, let’s put it that way. I think it will be great for the sport if they come in and are competitive.”

NXT Gen Cup Paddock 2023

Not all is rosy with Formula E as their much anticipated support series NXT Gen Cup has been canceled just 4 days before the first race. “The professionalism of the set-up was strong, with experienced staff and a sound structure to the sporting framework. That though appears to now have been squandered in terms of gaining credibility on the international scene, with a late cancellation of the series due to apparent financial issues created by an errant investor.”

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Extreme E is continuing to reduce its carbon footprint while experiencing global audience growth. “Extreme E’s third sustainability report showed that the series maintained its status as a carbon neutral series throughout the 2023 season.

The report, released last Tuesday, and produced in collaboration with EY, also showed that the championship reduced its overall carbon footprint by 8.2 percent over the course of the 2023 season. The report calculated that 8,301 tCO2-e was emitted during Season 3 – down from 9,045 tCO2-e across Season 2 – despite each event becoming a double-header for 10 championship rounds overall.”

NXT Gen Cup

Despite the cancellation of their collaboration with Formula E this year, NXT Gen Cup and leading battery producer Clarios with its VARTA brand have deepened their partnership which was initiated last year for the inaugural season of the world’s first 100% electric junior touring car cup.

“We enjoyed a successful and rewarding first year of cooperation with NXT Gen Cup and its innovative junior motorsport platform, making the choice to further extend and deepen our cooperation for 2024 easy,” said Lena Schiewe, Director Marketing EMEA – Clarios. “We will continue our push together to educate future mechanics and utilise the exciting international motorsport platform to showcase our products under the intense conditions that electric motorsport offers.”

Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. As a former lawyer, he applies his legal background and research skills to assist race drivers by showcasing the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.