Keeping Vintage Racing Alive with Sustainable Fuels

Keeping vintage racing alive with sustainable fuels is something that is finding more support to keep vintage cars racing while reducing their carbon footprint.

In addition to sustainable vintage racing, I bring you behind the scenes in the development of the new hydrogen-powered Extreme H race car, the Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally’s rally debut and MotoGP’s “making a difference” challenge.

All this and more in this week’s Sustainable Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Its green news racers can use.

Sustainable Motorsport News

Vintage Sports-Car Club

Members of the UK-based Vintage Sports-Car Club (VSCC) used sustainable fuels for the first time this weekend at Prescott, where they took on the Long Course event according to Motorsport UK.

The VSCC is committed through its Carbon Emissions Initiative to reduce and ultimately eliminate its carbon emissions. Its efforts were recognised in 2022 when the Club won the inaugural Motorsport UK Sustainable Club of the Year. The trial of sustainable fuels is an important step in this process, as the VSCC strives to deliver environmentally sustainable vintage motoring and motorsport. Coryton provided its SUSTAIN Classic Super 80 free of charge via Motor Spirit. Sixteen entrants into the event elected to use the fuel, which has been created with a commitment to preserve the beauty and legacy of classic cars.”

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Checkered Flag reports that the 2024-bound Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally, a new addition to the Mustang Mach-E series that integrates the spirit of Ford’s World Rally Championship challengers, will race for the first time at the Rebelle Rally on 12–21 October.

“Mustang Mach-E Rally puts Ford’s decades of passion for rally championships around the world right in the hands of our customers,” stated Ford CEO Jim Farley. “It takes Mustang where it hasn’t been before: to gravel and dirt roads. Inspired by true driving enthusiasts, a driving experience like never before for the pure joy of driving.”

For the Sustainability Report‘s 91st podcast episode, they’re joined by Nicola Barr, an Aussie Rules footballer who’s bringing the title ‘decarbonising sport lead’ to the industry. And while it may not be in her official title, Mercedes F1 head of sustainability Alice Ashpitel talks about her own extensive decarbonisation efforts, reflecting on the team’s focus on sustainable fuels investment, more sustainable aviation and new approaches to logistics.

In this podcast episode, we delve into the nuanced approach sports should take towards carbon emissions and question whether current best practices in carbon measurement and reduction are fit-for-purpose for an industry with such distinctive challenges.

You can listen here.

Global Sustainable Sport looks at sustainability in motorsport and the role of the Sustainable Motorsport Index in their article Accelerating opportunities: the Sustainable Motorsport Index.

The index, which has been established on the premise that ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it’, is the only global performance system that reports on publicly disclosed sustainability practices in the sector. Each index is based on more than 20 sustainability performance criteria across dimensions including certifications, accreditations, awards, environmental performance, social performance, economic impact, and sustainability approach and engagement.”

Sustainable Motorsport Tech

Extreme H

Racecar Engineering goes in depth on the development of Spark Engineering’s upcoming hydrogen-powered Extreme H off road race car. “At the beginning, when we started talking about the H car, we thought it would be just an evolution of the E,” Spark motorsport director Pierre Prunin tells Racecar Engineering. “But we wanted to improve everything.”

The September 2023 issue of Professional Motorsport World has two great articles related to sustainable motorsport that you should have a look at.

  • How will the motorsport powertrain landscape evolve over the next decade? PMW speaks to leading experts to gather their views.
  • Could the time be ripe for an all-electric touring car series? The Swedish national championship hopes so, and from 2024 will welcome an all-electric grid, providing a cost-effective route to production-based EV racing.

Series News

Formula E

Formula E has been nominated for a BBC Green Sport Award in the Elite Organisation of the Year category.

The motorsport championship for electric cars was nominated for its continued work in driving sustainable change both inside and outside motorsport,” said the panel. “It uses targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), has involved business partners in its efforts, and uses its technology and global platform to drive the move towards a more sustainable motor industry.”

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Global Sustainable Sport reports that MotoGP has linked up with the AWorld mobile application to encourage fans of the championship to adopt sustainable steps as part of a broader ‘Making a Difference’ initiative.

As the pinnacle of two wheels, MotoGP leads the way in sustainable innovation, and as a truly global sport we have a platform that reaches millions and millions of fans. So, partnering with AWorld makes perfect sense. Racing together isn’t just something for the paddock or the people on track, it includes our millions of fans, and thanks to this collaboration with AWorld they can now take an even more active part in helping us to make the sport more sustainable, and increasing its positive impact.”

Formula 1 drivers have questioned the push for a ban on tire blankets for sustainability reasons and are asking instead for more efficient equipment.

George Russell: “Obviously the removal of tyre blankets is a huge topic for the future. I think a number of drivers feel like it’s a very difficult task for the tyre manufacturers to achieve when you’ve got a 1,000 horsepower car with the downforce we have to compete with no tyre blankets – borderline dangerous. And actually, if we probably put that emphasis on making a more sustainable tyre blanket, we could get a win-win. And there is a more sustainable tyre blanket out there I think that’s being developed.”

One thing that Russell does not mention is that the equipment needed to run the tire warmers would also be eliminated from the freight being transported from race to race. This would reduce the amount of freight that needs to be transported adding to more sustainability gains.

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.