Hydrogen-Powered Ligier JS2 RH2 Completes 5,000km of Testing

The hydrogen-powered Ligier JS2 RH2 has completed 5,000km of endurance testing as part of their preparations for the era of hydrogen-powered racing at Le Mans. I have the details this week. I also have news on a new series that will help train motorsport engineers and that can accommodate sustainable propulsion technologies, a ground-breaking test of sustainable fuel in rallying and how two Formula 1 teams are tackling sustainable logistics.

All this and much 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

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup
Barbara Silva, head of sustainability at the FIA, revealed that biodiversity is the next great challenge that motorsport must face

After attending the Beyond Rally forum at Exponor in Porto, BlackBook Motorsport breaks down the key takeaways from the event and outlines why motorsport must be used as a vehicle to promote sustainability and advance environmentally-friendly practices around the world. Some of the takeaways from the conference were:

  • Motorsport is a testbed for future technologies
  • ‘We’re lost when it comes to biodiversity’
  • Lowering barriers to entry for women

McLaren Racing HQ

McLaren Racing has published their latest annual Sustainability Report, covering 2023 and providing a transparent and comprehensive overview of the team’s environmental and social impacts.

“We are proud of the significant progress made across key areas: from being the first motorsport team to have our net-zero targets validated externally by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), to pioneering the use of recycled carbon fibre on our race cars, and 45% of new starters coming from underrepresented backgrounds. But we also know we have a fair way to go to balance the fantastic growth we’ve seen across our sport in recent years with our desire to minimise our impact on the planet. As a team, we will continue to push, innovate and collaborate to keep up the momentum and build on the success we’ve had to date.”

Read and download the full report – https://www.mclaren.com/racing/sustainability/

The Athletic explains how F1’s Miami GP’s food surplus feeds the city and fights climate change.

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined food waste significantly contributes to climate change. According to a recent report on quantifying methane emissions at U.S. landfills, the researchers found “an estimated 58 percent of the fugitive methane emissions (those released to the atmosphere) from municipal solid waste landfills are from landfilled food waste.” When organic waste (which includes food waste) breaks down, this turns into methane, which NASA has labeled as “a powerful greenhouse gas” that “is the second-largest contributor to climate warming after carbon dioxide (CO2).” Methane also comes from other sources, like fossil fuels and agriculture, but diverting food from landfills can help reduce the impact on the climate, the evidence suggested from the EPA’s research.”

The Formula E website goes inside the recent Change.Accelerated.Live in Monaco. With a focus on “Sustainable Cities of Tomorrow,” the conference that was supported by Julius Baer explored how cutting-edge technology and strategic vision were vital in the race to building and developing cities of the future that are both environmentally and socially conscious.

Hosted by Nancy Heslin, Editor in Chief of The Monegasque, distinguished speakers including Jeff Dodds, CEO of Formula E, Carsten Menke, Head of Research, Julius Baer and Monica Froehler, CEO Ban Ki-moon Center for Global Citizens combined for exclusive and thought leading sessions.

Formula Ed

Racecar Engineering looks at the efforts of Alan O’Neil and his SCU Motorsport organization who is looking to create a new series that will develop race engineers as much as it will drivers.

Alan O’Neill believes he has the solution to this problem. A former motorsport engineering lecturer, O’Neill’s vision is to launch a new student series that is linked to a new qualification. His company, SCU Motorsport, will licence this double-sided course to interested institutions such as colleges and universities. The Formula Ed series will use 140bhp single seaters based on a standardised tube steel chassis. The aim is to provide engineering students with a high level of practical experience alongside their studies.

The chassis will have a modular front end with a subframe rear, enabling the car to be modified for an electric powertrain. Hydrogen fuel is also being explored. Goodyear will supply the tyres and Cornering Force is providing the wishbones, suspension geometry and anti-roll bars.

The Student Series Aiming to Set Engineering Education Straight

The Sports Business Journal looks at how motorsports envision the competitive future of electric, hybrid vehicles in light of the rumors that they will be using a hybrid engine in the future as a means of attracting new manufacturers.

From the September 2023 edition of the Females in Motorsport Podcast is this great interview with Julia Pallé, Sustainability Director at Formula E where she discusses how motorsport series are putting a lot of thought behind making the industry more environmentally conscious. You can listen here.

Carbon Positive Motorsport Ambassador Max Coates returns to Porsche Sprint Challenge for 2024 and will continue to promote Carbon Positive Motorsport.

Max said, “I am relishing the opportunity to drive this new Cayman GT4 RS, I’ve had two brief drives so far and it’s simply an amazing car. Snetterton can’t come soon enough. I’m massively grateful for the continued support of my partners, Primex Plastics continuing to back my racing activities alongside JiC Transport, NGK Spark Plugs, CTL Dental and RGPS as well as Carbon Positive Motorsport who will be offsetting our CO2 emissions.”

Sustainable Motorsport Tech

Hydrogen-Powered Ligier JS2 RH2 Completes 5,000km of Testing

Ligier have announced that their Ligier JS2 RH2 with hydrogen engine will debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours after 5,000km of endurance testing.

“The results show that our hydrogen concept could meet the extreme requirements of a long-distance race and provide an excellent development basis for future use in racing cars and high-performance sports cars,” says Rüger. The experience gained with the Ligier JS2 RH2, for example in the design of the high-pressure tanks and the complex hydrogen safety concept with active and passive measures, is incorporated into future customer projects of both companies.”

Alpine Alpenglow Hy4

While the Alpine Alpenglow Hy4 did not get to hot the track at Spas last weekend due to electrical gremlins, here is a great roundup of features on the hydrogen-powered race car.

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has revealed that he is open to considering different engine rules from 2030 in a bid to deliver more noise to fans. This is something that I have discussed in the past. If the engine runs on fossil-free sustainable fuel, wouldn’t it make more sense to run a lighter, less complicated engine?

“It is a personal consideration of mine, not yet shared with the teams, even if we have spoken about it with the FIA, that if sustainable fuels work, we will need to carefully evaluate whether to continue with hybrid (technology) or whether better solutions will be available.”

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Last week I mentioned how F1’s Safety and Medical cars will be powered by sustainable fuels from the Miami Grand Prix forwards and this week I have more details on how it will be done.

“The use of sustainable fuel in the safety and medical cars is the latest use of the innovation throughout the sport. The current F1 hybrid power units already use E10 fuel containing 10% renewable ethanol, and Formula 1 utilises alternative energy solutions, such as HVO fuel, to power its events and logistics. Formula 2 and Formula 3 have been using a 55% advanced sustainable fuel since the start of the 2023 season, and from 2026 all F1 cars will use 100% advanced sustainable fuels as part of the next generation of power unit regulations.”

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Rallying is set to provide a groundbreaking test of synthetic fuel from Zero Petroleum that could help provide the “end game” solution to motorsport’s quest to vastly improve its sustainability.

“This is a step in our partnership there in the French Rally Championship. We are not yet fuelling that car but that is something we will be doing from the autumn and then step by step we will move up to the point of having a wider adoption of our fuels in that sport of rallying in general.”

Hydrogen-Powered Ligier JS2 RH2 Completes 5,000km of Testing

On April 23, Scalar Performance hosted their very first EV 101 seminar at RCLUB in Toronto with @hypercraftusa. The seminar acts as a comprehensive day-long course that promises to enhance your understanding of EV engineering and powertrain technology.

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

The first sustainably fuelled car to compete in the GT Cup Championship will take to the track this May, driven by Ex-Formula 1 driver David Brabham. “Developed by bespoke fuel specialist Coryton, SUSTAIN Racing fuels use advanced second-generation biofuel manufactured from agricultural waste, such as straw, by-products or waste from crops which wouldn’t be used for consumption. By doing so, the fuel utilises the carbon that already exists in our atmosphere, which the plants absorb as they grow, recycling it, rather than releasing additional CO2 that is currently locked underground in fossil fuel.”

RACER reports that Visa Cash App RB will be the latest team to utilize recycled carbon fiber in the production of its Formula 1 cars when it debuts new parts at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, joining McLaren which trialed similar technology at the United States Grand Prix last year.

“The carbon fiber recycling project developed by Herambiente is a perfect fit with the aims of VCARB and the Red Bull GmbH group aimed at reducing CO2 emissions in the Formula 1 world championship,” said Enrico Fastelli, RB’s facility management and HSE director. “The promotion of the circular economy and local projects, along with the development of new technologies that make motorsport increasingly sustainable and respectful towards the environment, are all part of a raft of activities that VCARB is approaching with a holistic vision aimed at grasping every opportunity to tackle the global challenge of climate change.”

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

In case you thought that sustainable fuels were a recent phenomena, Grassroots Motorsports reported on a E30 BMW racer that ran on biodiesel back in 2004. “Biodiesel, which is a renewable fuel made from fryer grease, is the reason Taylor’s BMW smells more like a popcorn popper than a race car. This “green” fuel is biodegradable, nontoxic, free of sulfur, and significantly reduces emissions of particulate matter, unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxides and sulfates compared to traditional petrodiesel.”

Sustainable Racing

Hydrogen-Powered Ligier JS2 RH2 Completes 5,000km of Testing

The World Karting Association (WKA) and Blue Shock Race Electric Karting have formed a partnership for Sprint racing programs in the United States. With exhibition races planned in 2024, the Electric kart class will be added full-time in the 2025 race season.

“Blue Shock Race addresses karting’s biggest challenge with their innovative electric racing kart technology, providing unmatched racing experiences with the world’s lightest electric racing karts. Enjoy the simplicity of Plug and Play, fitting any standard racing chassis in 30 minutes. Growing around the globe, Blue Shock Race has already established dealers worldwide and championships in several select countries.”

Series News

Formula E Gen3 EVO

While plans to introduce energy boosting Attack Charge pit stops have now been officially scrapped for this season, Formula E will deploy four-wheel drive in their Gen3 EVO race car in 2025.

“FE is touting the Gen3 Evo as offering a 2% lap time improvement over the previous version, thanks mainly to the ability to deploy power through all four wheels and the use of a new, softer tire compound from supplier Hankook. There will be some revisions to the bodywork and aerodynamics, in an effort to improve the durability of the cars.”

In more Formula E news, the total Attack Mode activation time for last weekend’s Berlin E-Prix double-header had been reduced as a precaution due to growing concerns over the health of Formula E’s batteries. “I understand why they’re doing it obviously with the battery issues, they don’t want to stress the battery in 350kW for too long,” said reigning champion Jake Dennis.

Meanwhile, the series has teamed up with Infosys partner to revolutionize fan experiences, innovation and sustainability reporting. “With the objective of playing a pivotal role in supporting Formula E’s carbon reduction target of 45% by 2030, Infosys will work to transform the sport’s carbon reporting capabilities by using AI to improve accuracy, reliability, and traceability of data collection, and setting new standards in sustainability assessments for the championship.”

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

At the 2024 E-Prix SUN Minimeal Berlin, the Porsche Taycan Turbo GT became the new Safety Car of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Green Racing News reports that, equipped with the optional Weissach package, the Porsche Taycan Turbo GT achieves impressive acceleration from 0 to 60 MPH in just 2.2 seconds and reaches a top speed of 190 MPH.

“Its innovative Attack Mode is based directly on Formula E technology, as seen in all GEN3 machines, including the World Championship-winning Porsche 99X Electric. With Attack Mode enabled, the car receives a temporary boost of up to 120 kW of additional power.”

Finally, as part of their recently announced Formula E Better Futures Fund, the series will be focusing on environmental protection, prioritizing nature and air quality in urban environments along with community engagement and their transition to living more sustainable lifestyles.

The Asian Le Mans Series and TotalEnergies have announced a multi-year partnership to use the same sustainable fuel as the other ACO championships. This partnership is part of the ACO’s ambitious strategy entitled “Race to 2030”, a goal is to achieve net zero by 2030, cutting its carbon emissions by 30% and developing a carbon offset program. For the upcoming season the Asian Le Mans Series will use the same race fuel as the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series, Michelin Le Mans Cup and the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

“TotalEnergies Excellium Racing 100 is a racing fuel produced mainly 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.”

The IndyCar Series has announced its new hybrid era will be rolled out for the ninth points-paying round of the 2024 season at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in July. “As part of a collaborative effort between Chevrolet, Honda and IndyCar, the first-of-its-kind hybrid unit features the current 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine paired with ultracapacitor hybrid technology.”


CUPRA Sweden-PWR have received its three electric CUPRA Borns for the 2024 STCC season. “We are happy to present these CUPRA Borns to CUPRA Sweden-PWR in anticipation of their upcoming, and I am sure, historic 2024 season, as we remain committed to shaping a sustainable and exhilarating future in motorsport,” expressed Marcus Ekström, team principal for CUPRA Sweden-PWR

Global Sustainable Sport has more details on the new for 2027 MotoGP bike’s sustainability initiatives. “While the sport has been racing using 40% sustainable fuel since the start of the current season, MotoGP will race with 100% sustainable fuel from 2027. The new regulations will also see the fuel tank capacity reduced from 22 litres to 20, with riders able to use 11 litres during the sprint race.”

Getting to the Track Sustainably

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

McLaren Racing has detailed how they plan on transporting their freight from race to race sustainably. “From a purely statistical standpoint, the numbers alone are impressive. When compared to the diesel trucks that we would normally use, the trucks using biofuels achieved a 75% reduction in GHG emissions and those using electricity achieved up to 50% less energy – they also have no tailpipe emissions.”

Hydrogen-Powered Ligier JS2 RH2 Completes 5,000km of Testing

Not to be outdone, the Mercedes Formula One team are targeting 100 per cent biofuel logistics for the European leg of the 2024 season. The Brackley-based outfit targeted a fully biofueled season for the European races in 2023, with the initial target to achieve reductions of over 60 per cent in emissions. In the end, the team exceeded this goal by recording a 67 per cent reduction in emissions. The team have not set a target for an emissions reduction this year, only to build on the savings from last season.

“New for 2024, our biofuel adventure will carry on at the track, as the generators powering our hospitality and engineering trucks will also be powered by HVO100. The initiative is the latest bold action we are taking to extract the advantages of biofuels and improve our efficiency in how we power our operations on the way to, and at the racetrack.”

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.