Electric racing has expanded its reach and as I demonstrate in this week’s Sustainable Motorsport Roundup, it’s not just Formula E anymore.
People have been asking if anybody is racing a Tesla, and as you will see this week, they will be next year in the STCC. I also show you the strides that Zandvoort have made in putting on a sustainable Grand Prix, using hydrogen to power race cars and sustainable body work on single-seater race cars in Japan.
All this plus sustainable motorsport technology at Dakar, an electric NASCAR and much more in this week’s edition of the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup.
Sustainable Motorsport News
The National Motorsport Academy has a great feature on the sustainability initiatives that were implemented during the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. “Despite all the praise for Zandvoort’s travel plan efforts, it is interesting that the circuit only receives a 1-star rating in the second edition of the Sustainable Circuit Index. This annual index, produced by Enovation Consulting in partnership with Right Hub, assesses the sustainability performance of international circuits across a range of economic, social and environmental criteria. Top ranked circuits (Circuit de Barcelona and Mugello) are already achieving 4-stars. For all Zandvoort’s laudable efforts, there is still a long way to go to reach the heights most sustainable F1 race circuit.”
F1 journalist Tom Clarkson sat down with McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown to review the 2022 season and look ahead to their 60th anniversary year. From Daniel’s departure, Oscar’s signing, and Lando’s development, to the impact electric racing can have on the future of McLaren and our chances in INDYCAR, nothing was off limits…
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
Hydrogen power is developing at a breakneck speed, and for Motorsport development, AVL is leading the charge. Autosport visited AVL’s headquarters in Graz, Austria, to find out just how they’re developing a Hydrogen powered race car, and how it compares to the real thing in their state-of-the-art simulator. You can watch the video above.
Stohl Advanced Research and Development (STARD) has been named as the company that will provide the batteries that will be used when the STCC moves into the electrified era in 2023. STARD will now work alongside EPWR – the R&D division of the PWR Group – on the integration of the new battery systems into the 550hp cars being engineered for the first STCC season under electric power.
Swiss lightweighting specialists Bcomp and Super Formula have confirmed their collaboration for the new era of Japan’s premiere single seater race series. Following successful testing of Bcomp’s flax fibre composites throughout the year, Super Formula has confirmed the innovative bodywork parts will appear on the new SF23 chassis.
Extensive testing has been conducted in 2022 by Super Formula drivers to evaluate the new engines, fuels, tyres and, of course, the Bcomp bodywork. Sidepods and engine covers, entirely made from ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ performed well in the initial tests but it seemed more appropriate to create hybrid parts for the implementation in the SF23. A construction with about 70% flax and only 30% carbon fibre for local reinforcements proved to be an ideal combination of each material’s benefits while still significantly reducing the carbon footprint. This innovative collaboration has been recognized already across the motorsport community, including most recently being nominated as a finalist for this year’s World Motorsport Symposium Green Tech Award.
X-raid will compete in the upcoming Dakar 2023 with two MINI John Cooper Works Plus in the T1+ category. With the new desert racer, X-raid not only wants to have a say in the overall victory, but also to take a leading role in the area of sustainability for vehicles with combustion engines. The MINI JCW Rally Plus runs on second-generation HVO fuel – the biodiesel is made from used vegetable fats and plastic bottles, for example. As a result, the fuel does not compete with food production like HVO1. In addition, in future the engine power will no longer be regulated by an air restrictor, but electronically. Together with the HVO fuel, X-raid thus achieves an enormous CO2 saving.
Sven Quandt: “Sustainability is clearly at the forefront of our forward-looking MINI JCW Rally Plus project. The future, motorsport will have to get used to the fact that without sustainability there will be no more motorsport. In this respect, it was clearly a matter of the heart for us that we will operate the ninth MINI more sustainably. With HVO we are entering new territory for the cross-country scene and I am looking forward to introducing our latest addition to the family, the MINI JCW Rally Plus with significant aerodynamic changes. In our opinion, HVO fuel is an important complement to other low-emission powertrains – and not just in motorsport. The Dakar offers a very good platform to test this fuel and raise awareness.”
Bahrain Raid Xtreme with their Prodrive Hunter have pioneered the use of sustainable fuel in amongst the leading cars on the Dakar Rally. With slight adjustments to the engine the biofuel powered the car to second place overall on Dakar 2022 with Sebastien Loeb at the wheel, taking two stage victories along the way. Team mate Orly Terranova took fourth and a stage victory too, once more proving the speed and ecological credentials of the car.
The Prodrive EcoPower fuel was blended in the UK by Coryton the main components of which are generation 2 biofuels manufactured from agricultural waste and efuels created from carbon capture that result in 80% less CO2 emissions than a pure petrol powered car while the Hunter was running on all World Rally Raid Championship events.
For Dakar 2023 there will be four Prodrive Hunters taking the start in the world’s biggest motorsport event when it commences on December 31st.
Formula E has been ranked as the Best Total Performer from more than 300 global sports organizations in the 2022 Global Sustainability Benchmark in Sports (GSBS) annual report. GSBS is an independent, global not-for-profit organisation, which analyses and benchmarks the sustainability performance of professional sports organisations through an unbiased, science-driven and data-based process. Formula E achieved a record-breaking benchmark score to win Best Total Performance 2022. Formula E was also ranked highest in three of the remaining four categories: Best Corporate Performance, Best Environmental Performance, and Best Governance Performance. Italian football club Juventus won the Best Social Performance title.
Formula E has also explained how Saudi Arabia “needs to be around the table” as they have “the financial power to support us” in the fight against climate change, says Julia Pallé, sustainability director for Formula E. The all-electric series recently signed a global sponsorship deal with Sabic, a Saudi Arabian company and a subsidiary of the state-owned Aramco. Environmentalists have claimed the company is responsible for more than four per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions since 1965.
“For us, it’s very simple. The reality is that we are facing one of the biggest challenges of humanity, which is climate change,” Pallé told the BlackBook Motorsport. “It’s tomorrow, 2030. So it’s seven years [as we’re] almost in 2023. You have two ways of approaching this. Either you preach to those that are considered as the virtuous ones, and you turn a blind eye on the reality and the rest of the world, because [Saudi Arabia] makes up a part of the world. Or you get them around the table, and you get them to help. We are very pragmatic, because we have decided to work with these guys. And why? Because these guys, they are giants, they have the money, hence they have the ability to innovate, which most other companies don’t have.”
With the recent announcement that Hankook Tire has secured title sponsorships for Mexico, Rome and the London E-Prix, they have also mentioned the sustainability aspects of their new racing tires. “As Technical Partner of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship from Season 9, Hankook Tire will showcase their new high-performance EV race tyres on the Gen3 race car, with materials made from 26% sustainable rubber that will be fully recycled at their end of life.”
With group testing recently concluded, Porsche have stated that Formula E must learn from a “too short, too tight” Gen3 development schedule. “For the future, we need to learn some lessons, that maybe the schedule for such a new car with such complex systems and this technology was too short and too tight. This must be the target to learn for the next generations in Formula E. It just stretched us a little bit to get more time to prepare properly.”
Finally, Forbes argues that the Formula E Gen3 could be make or break for the series while UK’s The Independent states that the new Gen3 EVs raise the bar for Formula E to play the proving ground in sport against the energy crisis.
Other Motorsport Series
Joe Gibbs Racing has built an electric NASCAR Stock Car strictly for pit crew practice. “[It’s] used for pit stop practice only,” said JGR athletic director Matt Osborn. “It was much cheaper to build than a ‘real’ NASCAR Gen7 car for a pit practice car (we were forced to build something as our race cars changed drastically from the 2021 season- gen6 to gen7). We are hoping it will also be much more durable and therefore cheaper to maintain in the long run as well. And… last but not least- it’s ‘greener’ of course!“
As part of Autoweek‘s 6 Things We Learned at IMSA’s Mandatory GTP Test at Daytona, one of these “things” is sustainability. “A full-blown push for improved environmental impact starts at the Rolex 24 with the headlining GTP cars. The week of the Daytona test, meanwhile, media releases touting their own sustainability came in from IndyCar, which will launch its hybrid era in 2024, the Le Mans organizers and the GT series of SRO. “We are going to use less tires,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “That coupled with a renewable fuel and a hybrid power train that will cause stints to go longer, we literally have the pillars of a proper sustainability message.”
Sustainability Magazine looks at Formula 1’s annual sustainability progress report that I mentioned in last week’s Sustainable Motorsport Roundup. Commenting on some of these new initiatives, Formula 1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali said: “We have delivered important initiatives on our journey to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030, expanded our scholarship program for underrepresented groups and announced the F1 Academy that will provide opportunities for young female drivers to begin their journeys to the highest levels of our sport. We are proud of what we are delivering, but we know we must continue to make progress and deliver positive lasting change for Formula 1.”
The way is paved for alternative powertrains to join the truck racing grid in the FIA European Truck Racing Championship. From 2023 the technical regulations allow all-electric and hybrid powertrains along with the current generation of combustion engine race trucks in the Goodyear FIA ETRC. Trucks with alternative powertrains must be hybrid (any type) or full electric. They have to undergo a full technical inspection by the FIA and be awarded with an FIA/F Technical Passport before they can take to the track. “Adding electric powertrains to the grid opens up completely new possibilities,” says Fuchs. “The huge torque of electric engines can add to more exciting and action-packed racing.
Every Little Bit Counts
Every Little Bit Counts looks at small steps that you can take to decrease your environmental impact and increase your sustainability.
Last week I posted about the changes coming to Motorsport Prospects in 2023. One of the big changes will be the addition of a newsletter. In my post, I also discussed using sustainable website design practices wherever possible. To give you an idea of the impact this can have, here is the impact of code changes that a developer made to one of the tools that I am using for the newsletter. “In 2021, he was featured in Wired for his efforts in reducing his carbon output as a plugin developer. He refactored the plugin to send 20kb less data, and, due to its large user base, he estimates these changes reduced the world’s monthly CO2 output by 59,000 kilograms, which Wired estimated is “roughly the equivalent to flying from New York to Amsterdam and back 85 times.”
The Big Picture
In The Big Picture, I look beyond motorsport to see what other sports are doing in their sustainability journey as well as the issue of sustainability generally. Hopefully this will act as a catalyst for change in the motorsport ecosystem as it demonstrates that in many ways, all sport shares some commonalities that can be tackled with achievable, measurable sustainability practices.
- U.S. and Canada Sports Organizations Offer Varying Green Sports Day Actions
- The Difference Between Carbon Credits and Carbon Offsets
- SOUTHAMPTON SCORES ECO-FRIENDLY PARTNER
- Waste-Ed Wagon takes on tailgate waste
- Sport For Good Playbook part four: How brand activism can turn purpose into action
Getting to the Track Sustainably
Getting to the Track Sustainably is my occasional column on developments in sustainable transportation that could have some application to motorsport. Since the majority of carbon emissions come from logistics and transportation, this topic is of utmost importance as motorsport works to make itself more sustainable. Here are some articles you may find of interest.
Sustainable Land Transport
- Manufacturers Line Up against California’s Clean Truck Regs
- Auto Trader report shows demand for EVs has dropped for first time since pandemic
- Increase in Battery Prices Could Affect EV Progress
- Toyota Announces Collaboration with Oncor to Accelerate EV Charging Ecosystem
- Rush to electric vehicles may be an expensive mistake, say climate strategists
- Will the world produce enough electric vehicle batteries?
- Honda to begin selling mini-commercial electric vans in spring 2024
- Nissan Moves One Step Closer to Electrification by Establishing Electric Vehicle Transformation Office
- Honda Will Build a CR-V-Based Fuel Cell EV in Ohio in 2024
- First Drive: Wiesmann’s Project Thunderball Is an All-Electric Tour De Force
- Maker of Flying Electric ‘Cars’ Prepares for Take Off
- Belgium Will Tax Private Jets to Reduce Noise and Air Pollution
- Boom’s New Overture Jet Will Use a Quiet, Low-Emission Supersonic Engine to Hit 1,300 MPH
- Air New Zealand Wants to Fly a Zero Emissions Plane by 2026. Here Are Its Options
- Meet The Billionaire Who Wants To Build The Tesla Of Airplanes
- NASA’s new wonder battery could power electric flight someday
- Yearning to fly