This week you will see how one race team is measuring its environmental impact as part of their sustainable motorsport activities. You will also get details on AVL’s new hydrogen ICE, Lucas di Grassi’s views on the new F1 power unit for 2026 and the updates to the 2024 Audi RS Q e-tron.
All this plus the new Berlin e-Prix track layout, the difficulties in building an electric club racer and more in this week’s edition of the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Your source for sustainable high performance motorsport news.
Sustainable Motorsport News
Green Racing News reports how the Nissan Formula E Team plans to be meticulous in measuring their environmental impact.
“The Nissan Formula E team announced on November 6, 2023 its partnership with Coral for the upcoming ABB FIA Formula E FIA World Championship 2023/24. The partnership is one of the Nissan Formula E team’s steps to continue its commitment to reducing its carbon emissions, following the achievement of FIA 3-Star Environmental Accreditation from the FIA in 2022.”
McLaren Racing chief executive Zak Brown wants more financial flexibility in the pursuit of greater sustainability in Formula One.
“Sustainability’s not a competition,” Brown told the Financial Times. “It’s something we all need to hold hands together on. We do think there are areas that will not necessarily put performance on the race car today, but areas we want to invest in to be more sustainable down the road,” added Brown.
Forbes has a great feature on Formula E VP Of Sustainability Julia Pallé as she talks COP 28 and the future of sports as well as Formula E’s future plans in sustainability.
“After calculating its carbon footprint, Formula E found that 75% of its emissions came from travel to race locations. Now the championship uses block scheduling to produce a calendar that limits extensive travel. Moreover, Formula E uses sea freight when possible to reduce extra emissions from long-haul air travel. After the preseason, all race materials for opening day will be shipped to Mexico by sea freight.”
From 2024, the Goodwood Revival will race exclusively on sustainable fuel, in what will be a landmark moment for historic motorsport.
Competitors will be required to use fuel with a minimum of 70 per cent sustainable components, in what is the latest initiative as part of Goodwood’s Revive & Thrive ethos. This is a major step on the path to ensuring the future of historic motorsport.
It’s a change that has been carefully considered and researched, and cars will require no modifications in order to run on the new fuel. There is also no performance deficit, cars can run exactly as they do on standard fuel. In fact, the first-ever sustainably-fuelled winner at the Revival was the 1925 Bentley Speed Model, which Ben Collings and Gareth Graham drove to victory ahead of other cars running on standard fuel.
The Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend has been awarded a gold certification from the Council for Responsible Sport on account of its sustainable social and environmental practices during this past summer’s event.
“Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend has become one of the most unique and popular events in Iowa and on the IndyCar calendar and we are so proud that the 2023 racing and entertainment festival at Iowa Speedway has achieved Gold certification for its commitment to driving positive environmental and social change,” said Anne Fischgrund, General Manager of Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend. “This honor recognizes Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend’s dedication to sustainability, inclusivity and community engagement, and we are already working on ways the event can make an even greater impact in 2024.”
On November 24th, Sebastian Vettel was honored with the German Sustainability Award in Düsseldorf for his contributions to sustainability. His initiatives both on and off the racetrack, have left a lasting impact on the environment and society.
Via P1 Fuels: “During the award ceremony, Vettel emphasized Formula 1’s responsibility to embrace sustainability promptly. Given its prominence, he suggested that F1 could have transitioned to synthetic fuels earlier, especially since sustainable fuels are readily available. According to Vettel, cost shouldn’t be a constraint, considering the financial resources in Formula 1.”
Of interest to motorsport professionals are:
- 6th December @ 10:00 – 11:30am: Shaping a Just Transition to a Net-Zero Road Transport Future
- 6th December @ 11:30am – 12:30pm: Formula E’s Race Against Climate Change
- 7th November @ 11:00 -20:00: Future Mobility Hub: Sustainability in Sports Day
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
One of the highlights of PMW Expo 2023 was AVL’s high-performance, hydrogen-fueled ICE, which took home the awards for Powertrain Technology and overall Motorsport Engineering Innovation of the Year.
The hydrogen-fueled, two-liter turbocharged ICE, capable of an impressive 205bhp/liter, was developed in conjunction with the Hungarian HUMDA Lab. The company is looking to banish the preconception that H2 ICE cannot have performance parity with gasoline fuel.
Using an engine testbed modified for hydrogen at AVL’s headquarters in Graz, Austria, the prototype engine achieved a peak power output of 410bhp (301.7kW) at 6,500 rpm, with 500Nm of torque at 3000-4000rpm, corresponding to a mean pressure (BMEP) of 32 bar.
Viritech, a leading developer of hydrogen powertrain solutions, has launched its new refuelling product, H2 Fill. In common with all Viritech products, H2 Fill has been designed to offer a flexible, efficient, and cost-effective solution for a wide range of hydrogen powertrain applications.
One of the key benefits of hydrogen vehicles over battery-powered vehicles is their faster refuelling times. However, hydrogen pressure vessels operate at very high pressures, and often, vehicles have multiple pressure vessels, requiring accurate control of the refuelling process. In compliance with SAE J2799, H2 Fill automatically communicates with the refuelling station, and is capable of monitoring multiple vessels for temperatures and pressure during the refuelling cycle.
Lucas di Grassi in Autosport looks at how F1’s impending engine revamp puts new emphasis on electrical power.
But it should be noted that the new V6 engines will be less efficient. Chiefly this is due to the removal of the expensive and unpopular MGU-H, which performs an important dual purpose. As well as recovering energy wasted through the exhaust, it prevents turbo lag, which is likely to be an issue for the new engines.
Compensating for this will either involve burning fuel through the braking phase or mean a bigger reliance on the electric motor for acceleration. At really high-speed tracks like Monza, simulations suggest that the combustion engine will effectively work as a generator that charges the batteries for the next straight and cars may not be at their top speed by the end.How F1’s impending engine revamp puts new emphasis on electrical power
“From the chassis to the software, from the body to the electric drivetrain: The engineers looked at various aspects to make the Audi RS Q e-tron even more competitive within the framework of the regulations. Working with the shock absorbers and springs helped the team to find an even better set-up. To get even closer to the minimum weight of 2,100 kilograms, while the weight of the new, more robust tires increases, various components have been optimized in terms of weight. This applies to the rear bonnet, as well as the smaller brake calipers, but also to the footrest for the co-driver. The regulations also slightly shift the balance between Audi’s T1U model and the opponents in the T1 class in terms of power-to-weight ratio: The 263 kW of maximum output from the electric motors at the start of the 2023 season (including the efficiency coefficient) turned into a value of 271 kW during the Dakar Rally, following a change in the regulations. As of January 2024, the figure will rise to 286 kW. At the same time, the regulations raise the weight of the opponents’ T1 models by 10 to 2,010 kilograms.”
Autosport shares a video on how the RAC Rally is embracing sustainable fuel.
“Jardine’s TradOak Rally Team have partnered with Coryton Fuels, while Solberg’s Mk2 Ford Escort is powered by biofuel produced by Carless. Much like how P1 Race Fuels have helped power four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastien Vettel’s 1992 Williams and 1993 McLaren F1 cars, Coryton and Carless have both created sustainable fuels capable of powering historic rally cars preserving them for prosperity.”
In the video above, co-founders of Scalar Performance Joel Fallaise and Brian Bourne talk about the journey that led them to build the world’s first all-electric amateur touring race car, the challenges they experienced, the research they’ve done, and plans to move forward with their development. Disclaimer: Please excuse audio, Brian and Joel had separate microphones connected to the camera that was filming.
Formula E has unveiled the new layout for the Tempelhof Airport Circuit which will host next year’s Berlin E-Prix double-header. The new 15-turn, 2.585km circuit has been created in an attempt to provide better racing for the faster, more powerful Gen3 cars currently used in Formula E.
The Race is reporting that little-known company Podium Advanced Technologies has emerged as the strong favourite to land the Gen4 Formula E battery contract slated to begin in 2026.
“The company designs and supplies the MotoE battery packs and is also known as the engineering and technology partner of the Glickenhaus hypercar effort, which ran in the World Endurance Championship from 2021 until the latter stages of the season just completed.”
All-electric off-road SUV championship Extreme E has become a member of the Monaco Hydrogen Alliance. The Monaco Hydrogen Alliance is a not-for-profit association under Monegasque law designed to promote the use of green hydrogen in land, air and maritime transportation. Extreme E is set to launch Extreme H, its hydrogen spin-off series, in 2025, with the first off-road hydrogen series to become an under the International Automobile Federation (FIA) in 2026.
Ali Russell, managing director of Extreme E, said: “We are delighted to become an official member of the Monaco Hydrogen Alliance. The potential for utilising green hydrogen is huge, and like the Alliance we have been dedicated to promoting sustainable, zero-emission mobility while significantly reducing the impact on the planet. As the energy transition continues at pace towards a low carbon future, it is crucial to collaborate with industry leaders and pioneers to deliver sustainable solutions which can have an enormous impact, especially as we move towards Extreme H and the first-ever hydrogen racing world championship.”
In more Dakar news, Tacita is fielding two electric bikes in 2024 for Dakar Rally’s Mission 1000 initiative.
“Tacita is an exciting adventure, and not only for the participation in the most difficult competition in the world such as the Dakar, but for the technological challenges that see us as protagonists,” said Tacita CEO Luca Oddo. “Like us, our investors had the courage, the spirit and the foresight to believe in a project that comes from far and that sees the values of sustainability and a better future merged into our brand. Innovation is our silent and discreet companion that accompanies us on this journey and that accompanies anyone riding a Tacita motorcycle.”
Formula G has announced QEV Technologies as the technical partner for the upcoming electric development series. The partnership will see QEV develop the Formula G car’s powertrain and battery from its base near the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain, which houses production facilities for road and race vehicles.
“Of course, we are delighted to be working with QEV Tech,” said Dilbagh Gill, founder and CEO of Formula G.“We share the same aims and goals and we have worked together in Formula E and other projects. QEV Tech is the perfect partner for this championship. I have every confidence in QEV Technologies to deliver two fantastic cars for our two categories.”