How Racing Simulators Can Reduce Motorsport’s Carbon Footprint

This week you will find out how racing simulators can reduce motorsport’s carbon footprint. I also bring you the details of Phase 2 of the FIA’s hydrogen development plan, synthetic fuel news and analysis and footwear created with motorsport industry waste.

It’s all in this week’s edition of the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Your source for sustainable high performance motorsport news and cool footwear.

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Sustainable Motorsport News


Sim manufacturer Dynisma has posted an informative article on How Simulator Technology is Driving the Race to NetZero in Motorsport.

Virtual testing is therefore an important tool to help achieve sustainability. For example, one top level motorsport organisation completes 250,000 simulator miles per year across all the racing series in which it competes. This equates to savings of 450t of CO2, £0.4m in fuel, £8m in tyres and £1.2m in crash repair, compared to miles being driven in the real world.”

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Partners since 2018, TotalEnergies, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and Le Mans Endurance Management (LMEM) have renewed their partnership for five years up to 2028.

Committed to an ambitious strategy entitled “Race to 2030”, ACO’s goal is to achieve net zero by 2030, cutting its carbon emissions by 30% and developing a carbon offset program. Under the terms of the partnership, TotalEnergies will provide its energy transition expertise and will guide the ACO through an energy audit of its infrastructure, installing charging stations for electric vehicles and photovoltaic panels on its buildings and car parks. TotalEnergies will also pursue its long-term connection with endurance competitions by offering alternatives to fossil fuels, such as biofuels and hydrogen.

To meet these requirements, TotalEnergies has developed Excellium Racing 100, a racing fuel produced from wine waste and residue (lees and grape pomace) that meets all the demands of automakers, motorists and the European Renewable Energy Directive (RED). It reduces CO2 emissions by at least 65% over its life cycle. Certified 100% sustainable, this fuel was introduced for the first time at the FIA World Endurance Championships (WEC) in March 2022, at the 1,000 Miles of Sebring race (USA), and was used for the entire starting grid. The FIA WEC and the European Le Mans Series have pioneered the use of this type of fuel for all competitors.

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

The FIA has renewed the Three Star Environmental Accreditation granted to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for its sustainability program. The Catalan track continues to show a pioneering environmental involvement in the world of sport and circuits, after eight years of recognition.

In 2015, the Circuit became the first Formula 1 track to obtain the Excellence level accreditation of the FIA Sustainability Programme. This project aims to improve sustainability in motorsport worldwide and provides a framework for the environmental management of the different stakeholders and offers initiatives to advance in this field of action.

In its report, the FIA has highlighted that among the actions carried out, the “Circuit has promoted sustainable mobility, has developed a great communication strategy that uses different media and events and has managed to cover 33% of the annual energy demand of the circuit through the largest public self-consumption photovoltaic installation in Catalonia. Moreover, it has contributed to increase the environmental awareness, education and participation of society and the stakeholders involved in its activities, as well as to improve the use of public transport and carpooling for spectators and the use of electric vehicles for all the staff permanently working at the Circuit”.

Forbes looks at how Formula E and Borussia Dortmund are the most sustainable sports entities according to the recent Global Sustainability Benchmark in Sports (GSBS) Report. According to the data, the best overall performers in 2023 were electric motorsport championship Formula E and German soccer club Borussia Dortmund. In response to topping the charts for the second year running, Julia Pallé, Vice President of Sustainability, Formula E, said:

“We are immensely proud to continue setting the pace in global sustainability rankings within the sports sector. For Formula E, being recognized at the top of the Global Sustainability Benchmark in Sport (GSBS) underscores the depth of our commitment to sustainability. Our consistent performance in this independent evaluation is a testament to our unwavering dedication to integrating sustainable practices into every aspect of our operations.”

Issue #2 of new sustainability magazine Citizen Zero is out and it features a great profile of the Electric Renegade himself, Ellis Spiezia that is worth the read. You can read the magazine here.

Compound Footwear

Compound Footwear is a cool new company that takes motorsport industry waste and converts it into unique, recycled, sustainable footwear.

Compound’s motorsport-inspired sneakers are made from used race tire rubber combined with recycled natural rubber to create the soles. The uppers are made from waste leather and recycled polyester lining and laces. At the end of their natural life, Compound Footwear sneakers can be recycled into 100% reusable raw materials to make new shoes and products.

Sustainable Motorsport Tech

FIA hydrogen development program

The FIA World Motor Sport Council convened on February 28th for its first meeting of 2024. The meeting was chaired by President Mohammed Ben Sulayem with FIA Deputy President for Sport Robert Reid and WMSC members joining in person at the Federation’s offices in Geneva and from around the world via video conference. One of the topics covered was the next stage of the FIA hydrogen development program.

As part of the FIA’s energy transition road map, which defines gradual introduction of sustainable power sources in motor sport, the FIA continues development of hydrogen-fuelled power units across different disciplines and competitions.

As the next phase, the FIA will focus its efforts on contribution to development and promotion of solutions based on hydrogen stored in liquid form (LH2). Given the tank’s characteristics, lower volume and weight compared to compressed gas tanks (CGH2), liquid storage form is better suited to the demanding environment of motor sport competitions, where optimisation is key. This also allows the powertrain layout to remain closer to the one of a conventional combustion-powered car compared with vehicles accommodating compressed gas tanks.

Solutions utilising compressed gas storage type will be considered as interim solution, provided minimum safety and technical requirements are met.

Solutions utilising compressed gas storage type will be considered as interim solution, provided minimum safety and technical requirements are met.

The FIA has been leading the work on regulations for hydrogen-powered vehicles in motor sport, with safety being one of the key considerations, since 2019, when it formed its FIA Hydrogen Technical Working Group, gathering numerous manufacturers and industry-leading companies.

In 2020, the FIA World Motor Sport Council approved the addition of article 253.19 (which outlines safety regulations for hydrogen-powered vehicles in motor sport) to its International Sporting Code.

Technologies and strategies for the future set out at first World Motor Sport Council meeting of 2024

Autosport has some additional context on the announcement including the status of hydrogen fuel cells while pointing out how hydrogen is becoming more and more popular as a sustainable fuel option.

Momentum has slowly gathered pace behind hydrogen as an alternative to electric power as a pathway for sustainable motorsport, because water is its only byproduct when produced by a process of electrolysis using renewable energy sources.”

Super Formula SF23

Sustainable fibre manufacturer Bcomp has released a review of their activities in 2023 and part of that was their work with Super Formula and Dallara.

In one of our greatest motorsport projects to date, we worked alongside Dallara and Super Formula in the development of the SF23 racecar. This four-year collaboration aims to enhance sustainability in racing materials and technology, setting a groundbreaking standard for sustainable motorsport design and production.

A key part of fulfilling this ambition was the use of ampliTex™ in the racecar’s bodywork, using a 70:30 mix of natural fibre and carbon fibre. This exhilarating project signals a significant shift towards more sustainable practices in motorsport and Bcomp’s role at the leading edge. It also won Professional Motorsport World’s 2023 Chassis Technology Award and was nominated as a finalist for the 2023 World Motorsport Symposium Green Tech Award.

Review 2023: Bcomp reaches scale production at pivotal moment

The technology behind biofuels and synthetic fuels is evolving, opening up new possibilities for emission reduction. Alessandro Ferrari, Head of Development of Performance Fuels at Haltermann Carless provides insights to Automotive Powertrain Technology International magazine.

While mainstream biofuel and synthetic fuel supplies are still limited in many markets, for example the UK still only has 10% renewable blends on general sale, in motorsport, the uptake of sustainable fuels has been enthusiastic. The last five years has seen multiple high profile race series adopt sustainable fuels, and the acceleration in their adoption has impressed Ferrari. HCS Group, via its Carless and ETS Racing Fuels brands, is heavily involved in the supply of fuels for both competition and classic vehicles.

“In 2021, it started with the WTCR mandating 15% renewable content in its fuels, then the next year you had the WRC pushing straight to 100%, complete with hybrid systems,” highlights Ferrari. “You have to acknowledge the role of the FIA in this situation, having the guts to say, let’s try another way, and going to 100% renewable fuels.” Other series have also followed suit, including the World Endurance Championship (100% biofuel) and F1 steadily upping the renewable content of its fuels, targeting 100% in 2026.

This is why motorsport is such a vital proving ground, giving brands such as Haltermann Carless and ETS Racing Fuels a sandbox in which they can develop fuels hand in hand with some of the latest advances in ICE technology. “It is still an evolution, and the next generation fuels we are working on are looking to improve their properties. For example, removing some of the components that are particularly heavy in the cut of gasoline, while at the same time improving the evaporation patterns. You could also use ICE hardware modification to approach this but that is not the point of a drop-in fuel. We want to have the fuels working in every vehicle and with every technology.”

“The Tank to Wheel emissions of renewable fuels can be considered neutral because for producing these fuels, the amount of CO2 emitted at the tailpipe has been originally captured both for synthetic and biofuels”. He also noted that “the Well to Wheel greenhouse gas emissions using biofuels today is reduced by ca. 72%-75% vs. the fossil fuels, as the biomass itself is a carbon capturing system. By using renewable energy for the synthetic fuels, more than 92% Well to Wheel GHG reduction can be achieved”.

Sustainable fuel advances: Interview with Alessandro Ferrari

Extreme E has welcomed Kempower into its pioneering racing series, with the Finnish company becoming the championship’s new Official Charging partner.

Founded in 2017, Kempower are EV advocates who design and manufacture EV chargers and software to make reliable and user-friendly DC fast-charging a reality for EV drivers around the world. Their goal is to produce durable DC fast-charging solutions that can withstand extreme conditions, which makes Extreme E the ideal testbed to develop and enhance such innovations.

DC fast-charging is particularly helpful in motorsport, as teams depend on quick turnaround times to maximize their opportunities on track. Kempower’s modular and scalable charging system is combined with world-class software to provide the best all-around user experience. Kempower continually stay up to date, experiment, and develop DC fast-chargers based on data and feedback.

Recently demonstrating their EV chargers at the Desert X Prix in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Kempower also shares a strong sustainability focus with Extreme E. As well as its charging solutions, Kempower is striving towards 100 per cent recyclability by aiming to reduce the amount of landfill waste to 0 per cent by 2025, as well a 50 per cent reduction in plastic packaging.

Series News

How is Formula E Changing the World? With Vice President of Sustainability Julia Palle

Green Racing News reports on how Formula E is a sports platform with a high sustainable impact on the planet.

Georgina Sanchez, Sales & Activations Manager Latin America of Formula E: “We have many attributes, the content and quality of the championship, exposure of the latest generation technology, a competitive race that you don’t know who is going to win, that makes us very attractive and 100% sustainable.”

Misano Circuit

In other Formula E news, as the series announces its circuit layout for the Misano race, Formula E’s drift away from street tracks is unsettling its stars. “I love street tracks just from a personal point of view,” Jaguar’s Mitch Evans told The Race. You’ll struggle to find a driver in Formula E who has a different opinion to him, yet the considerations of drivers are low on the FIA and Formula E totem pole when it comes to forming a calendar.

The Race also reports on how Maserati’s Formula E team remain “destabilised” but defiant in the face of numerous setbacks.

But underestimate this team at your peril. There is grit there. That became clear at Valencia itself where Maserati MSG got its head down and had a decent few days before arriving at the Mexico City opener with only the doom merchants’ (guilty as charged!) words of warning ringing in their ears.”

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

For Jimmie Johnson, his entry in the Extreme E series is much more than just a vanity project, or a chance to offroad race again like he did when he started his career. Instead, it’s a serious effort that he hopes will help Legacy Motor Club.

I think anything that we do as a company in any form of motorsports that we compete in, I intend on it coming back, somehow or some way to benefit our Cup program. NASCAR is our core product, and I think there are many opportunities in Extreme E to reach a new fan base, reach new partners.”

Extreme E has announced a new multi-year broadcast partnership with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), expanding the championship’s reach ahead of its new season which began last weekend (17-18 February).


DHL and Formula 1 have renewed their long-standing partnership as they accelerate towards F1’s Net Zero 2030 target.

In 2023 the use of biofuel-powered trucks during the European leg of the season resulted in an average reduction of logistics related emissions by 83%, and this year the fleet will more than double in size to 37 trucks. DHL has also switched to using more fuel-efficient Boeing 777 planes that reduce carbon emissions by 17% in comparison to traditional aircraft. For select European races on the 2024 calendar, DHL will use a new motorhome that will further reduce carbon emissions. Equipped with solar panels, charging and recycling stations, the motorhome will be launched later in the season and transported using a biofuel-powered truck.”

Racer reports that four cars and 12 drivers took part in the NTT IndyCar Series’ latest hybrid powertrain test across three days at Homestead-Miami Speedway’s roval, and like the last test at the same track, the news coming out of southern Florida was extremely positive.

We didn’t have any big issues, which makes that two hybrid tests in a row that have been that way,” Andretti Global’s Kyle Kirkwood told RACER. “There were a couple of little software gremlins from new stuff that they’re trying, which is normal. Anytime you try something new, it’s not ever gonna work identically to what you expect it to do, so that was handled pretty quickly and everyone got on with their business.”

At the next hybrid test scheduled for March 28-29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course where, after nearly a year of waiting, the other six full-time teams will get to turn laps in cars that make use of IndyCar’s energy recovery system.

The FIA has announced that modified and cost-effective versions of the current Rally1 machines without hybrid power will form the World Rally Championship’s top class from next year and an electric rally series is in the works.

At the earliest opportunity, an electric category will be introduced into the WRC, with the FIA technical department charged with establishing suitable technical regulations that could utilise the new Rally1 safety cell and achieve parity of performance with Rally1 cars running on sustainable fuel.”

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.