Ligier Goes Hydrogen & More Sustainable Motorsport News

Ligier has announced that they will be unveiling a new hydrogen-powered race car at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans as hydrogen starts to make waves in global motorsport.

I also look at how Veloce thinks that sustainable blockchain technology can promote sustainable motorsport, the options for the future of WRC propulsion, a draft regionalized F1 calendar and the amazing McMurtry Spéirling Fan Car.

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

Sustainable Motorsport News

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

E-sports and electric racing group Veloce reckons its new blockchain-based VEXT platform will enable it to expand its message of sustainable racing and inclusivity. James Morris of Forbes talked to Rupert Svendsen-Cook, Veloce’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, about what VEXT is and how it could help take the group’s environmental mission to the next level.

“The world of crypto is full of grand statements like this, however, so I asked Svendsen-Cook what that would actually mean for VEXT participants. “Token holders will have influence, governance and control over what we as a sporting group do and how we do it,” he says. “That could be which drivers compete for us, which series we compete in, where we compete, which type of content we create, and what our YouTube influencers will produce. The utility is almost endless, but the key is integrating token holders into what we’re already doing.””

Electric racer and Motorsport Prospects contributor Ellis Spiezia also explains how a sustainable blockchain functions in his two columns for News Racers Can Use:

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Knockhill Racing Circuit and Carbon Positive Motorsport have decided to work together in an innovative long-term partnership, that will progressively mitigate the unavoidable carbon emissions generated through competition at the circuit.

“The partnership will provide full carbon positive levels of offsetting for all competitors in the 2023 Super Lap Scotland Championship, with the option for all Legends and Modified Sports Championship competitors to access a significantly discounted rate via the circuit’s entries system.”

You can find more information on Carbon Positive Motorsport in their Motorsport Prospects Directory listing here as well as my interview with founder Paul Glass here.

Claire Williams challenged the male-dominated motor racing establishment when she managed the Williams Formula One racing team, shaking up the way the team was run. Now a brand ambassador for WAE Technologies, the team’s R&D offshoot, Williams continues to campaign for more women in motorsport and believes that Formula E is creating the perfect environment for women to thrive.

“The very fact that there is now a whole championship now raced by cars that run on battery technology is really quite extraordinary. Two decades ago, if you had told my dad that this would be possible, he would have fallen out of his wheelchair.”

Sustainable Motorsport Tech

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Toyota wants the internal combustion engine to continue. To make that happen they are working with carbon-neutral fuels, including hydrogen. To help develop that, they are using motorsports.

“Koji Sato, who’s set to succeed Toyoda as Toyota’s president in April, confirmed the premise behind running its Corolla in the series. “By pushing the car to its limits, problems can be quickly identified,” Sato told the company’s Toyota Times. “We can then agilely formulate countermeasures to be ready for the next race. If you are developing technology for a simpler car, much can be done in the laboratory; however, through the Super Taikyu Series, we are conducting a major demonstration trial aimed at achieving a hydrogen society.””

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

It is not just Toyota looking into hydrogen in motorsport as Bosch Engineering and Ligier Automotive have established a strategic development partnership for high-performance vehicles with a hydrogen engine.

“The goal of the project is to build a high-performance vehicle with a hydrogen engine that delivers drive dynamics equivalent to those of conventional gasoline-powered sports cars and thereby demonstrate the potential that lies in specific vehicle developments in the areas of engine management and hydrogen storage. Furthermore, the project is a testimony to the shared expertise of Bosch Engineering and Ligier Automotive in transferring the complex hydrogen technology into vehicles. The Ligier JS2 RH2 will be officially unveiled as part of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Centenary in June 2023.”

Autosport looks at this project and some other hydrogen-related motorsport plans as well.

Tire manufacturer Michelin’s big picture view includes a strong commitment to sustainability, with a goal of reaching 100 percent sustainable materials in all tires by 2050 and the IMSA website explains how that commitment extends to racing in the Weathertech Championship.

“Corvette Racing, now in its 20th season with Michelin, will help demonstrate Michelin’s commitment and consistent progress to sustainability, as the No. 3 Corvette C8.R will make a run fitted with the latest 53 percent renewable Michelin tire.”

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Two pioneers within the electric vehicle space, McMurtry Automotive and myenergi, have announced a new partnership. The collaboration will see knowledge transfer between both British engineering firms and support of the McMurtry Spéirling record breaking programme in 2023 and 2024.

McMurtry Automotive is known for producing one of the quickest and most efficient electric track cars in the world, having set the outright record at the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed last year in a car capable of 0-60mph in under 1.5 seconds.

UK manufacturer, myenergi is known for producing the world’s first solar and wind compatible electric car charger and now offers a range of products to support home owners to monitor, manage and maximise their renewable energy. The business has already sold more than 500,000 devices worldwide and was recently recognised as one of the UK’s top ten fastest-growing companies

Check out the McMurtry Spéirling Fan Car in action below.

Ligier Goes Hydrogen & More Sustainable Motorsport News

Series News

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

The World Rally Championship is at a crossroads. While they have signed a sustainable fuels agreement with FuelsEurope, they still do not have a long range blueprint for their propulsion technology. With the new Rally1 hybrid rules not bringing in the hoped for new manufacturers, there is talk that hybrid could be ditched in 2025. What are the options for the top tier rally championship? Dirtfish looks at the three propulsion options facing the WRC and the likelihood of which one will be adopted.

One of the biggest issues with making Formula 1 more sustainable is the logistics of the sport. Flying the cars, equipment and personnel around the world is carbon intensive and F1 have stated that they understand the issue and are working on regionalizing the calendar to make it all more sustainable. Motorsport Magazine looks at how to streamline the current F1 calendar to make it a more efficient schedule while also cutting travel miles.

“F1 has acknowledged that there are efficiencies to be made in the calendar, but 2023 still sees plenty of long-haul flights from race to race — so we’ve had a go at drawing up a schedule that reduces travel by a third — 27,000 miles.”

With responses like that of the Miami promoter who insists that their date is pretty firm, both articles point out the complexity and challenge of regionalizing the calendar. But it can and needs to be done.

Continuing with Formula 1, Autosport Plus looks at the role that some of F1’s big fossil-fuel sponsors need to take such as Aramco and BP to ensure that the sport meet its Net Zero commitments.

“It is possible one answer will come from the energy companies themselves. Each
of them maintains that profits today enable investment in renewable energy and sustainable technology solutions for tomorrow.”

Ligier Goes Hydrogen & More Sustainable Motorsport News

Due to the biofuel requirements for all of the series taking part in this year’s Pau Grand Prix, Euroformula Open has been forced to withdraw from the weekend for technical reasons.

“Technical reasons have led to this decision, as it proved not possible to adjust the current engines of the Euroformula Open cars to the wishes of the organizers of the Grand-Prix, its sponsors, and the City of Pau for a low-carbon emissions event, running on ‘greener’ fuels, a requirement that was not part of the agreement signed with the GP de Pau.”

Meanwhile, TCR Europe are confident of being in Pau after the event’s biofuel push forced Euroformula out.

“For TCR, the concept of it, the technical regulations of it, we are using only production engines. And for these, we have to define a biofuel that could be not too much aggressive [and easily compatible]. We are working with different companies, and the plan clearly is as soon as possible to clearly move on biofuel, more and more and more green. Not only 10% [biofuel mix], 20%, we are using biofuel now but clearly with a low percentage. We want to increase this, but clearly in the fact that not all the customers of TCR cars, that is 1,280 I think [worldwide] at the moment, can [make a switch].”

The French Formula 4 championship will now be the titular race. The F4 series has used biofuels since 2022.

Finally, BlackBook Motorsport looks at how electric motorcycle series E-Xplorer plans to build the “Amazon for two-wheelers.”

“In stark contrast, E-Xplorer hopes its competitive environment will encourage technological advancement in all areas and, with giants of the motorcycling world like KTM and Harley Davidson showing interest, the wheels are already in motion to have a global impact. And like Extreme E, each team will field a male and female rider, ensuring gender equality across the competition.”

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.