Mugello Circuit leads the list of the most sustainable race circuits in the latest edition of the 3rd annual Sustainable Circuits Index. I have the details on how you can get the report.
In addition to sustainable circuits, I bring you details on the Mazda concept racing with synthetic fuels, the future of Formula E and how Formula 1 wet tires are reused.
All this and much more in this week’s edition of the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects.
Sustainable Motorsport News
Magneto Magazine interviews Sebastian Vettel on historic F1, the environment, synthetic fuels and his Race for Trace initiative. “The idea is to demonstrate that we can still enjoy motor sport, but do it in a more responsible way. I love motor sport, and I would love for it to continue; it would be a shame if Goodwood or Formula 1 were to disappear. So, my two cars will run on synthetic fuels that are made in a laboratory rather than by pumping oil out of the ground. A lot of people don’t even know this technology exists.”
The 3rd annual Sustainable Circuits Index has been released. “The leader of this year’s SCI™ is Mugello Circuit, which returns to the top spot having been displaced last year by Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Mugello’s continued focus on improving sustainability measures both at an operational and strategic level, as well as enhancements in its public disclosures, has ensured it continues to dominate the ranking.”
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
As part of the Porsche GT4 e-Performance World Tour, the all-electric test vehicle electrifies spectators at two show runs on the legendary high-speed track Watkins Glen International in New York state. “A total of eight laps at Watkins Glen. It was awesome,” says Bergmeister afterwards. “My fastest lap was 1:47.7. But that was far from the limit. It can go even faster,” says the Porsche brand ambassador matter-of-factly. In terms of capabilities, the GT4 e-Performance is roughly on a par with the current generation of Cup cars. Jackpot! The fastest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America, the very same weekend at Watkins Glen, posts a qualifying lap of 1:47.695. With lots of practice and set-up work in the run-up.”
Mazda is yet another automaker exploring the use of synthetic carbon-neutral fuel. It is racing in this year’s ENEOS Super Taikyu Series, and the company takes a new step in evaluating the fuel with the introduction of the Mazda CNF Concept that begins competing soon.
“The Mazda MX-5 Miata features the brand’s naturally aspirated Skyactiv-G 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It’ll compete in the recently launched ST-Q class for special racing vehicles developed by manufacturers. Toyota is participating in it with the GR86 CNF concept that packs a smaller turbocharged 1.4-liter three-cylinder engine, competing alongside the Subaru BRZ with a 2.4-liter flat-four power plant.”
Boutique Swedish automaker Koenigsegg recently unveiled the production version of its Gemera hypercar. It’s a hybrid, powered by two available combustion engines as well as a single, powerful electric motor known as the “Dark Matter.” How is it so small and so powerful? “The motor, which appears to be encased in forged carbon fiber, weighs under 40 kilograms. Koenigsegg claims it produces 800 horsepower and 922 lb-ft of torque. That’s about 600 kilowatts, a figure which will be more useful for our purposes. Since we know the Gemera operates at 800 volts, it’s going to take 750 amps of current to generate that peak kW figure. That’s a lot of current.”
Forbes is saying that the MG4 XPOWER is the first electric hot Hatch, and it’s not expensive. “The MG4 was one of the most important electric cars launched in 2022. It set a new benchmark for affordability and has understandably been selling like hot cakes ever since. But even in 2022 MG was teasing a future version that could be equally momentous – a dual-motor model. This has now arrived in the form of the MG4 XPOWER. It’s the first true electric hot hatch and will give traditional internal combustion-powered fast compact cars a lot to worry about. I took it for a test drive.”
Porsche has announced its commitment to the Formula E championship until the end of the 2026 season. “Porsche’s commitment as it stands will come to end just before Formula E introduces its Gen4 machine ahead of the 2026-2027 season.”
Formula E CEO Jeff Dodds has revealed that they are in advanced talks with Malaga to host an E-Prix in 2024. Meanwhile, Michael Andretti, Director of Avalanche Andretti, considers that an expansion in the United States is essential for Formula E. “Andretti is one of the main promoters for a race to be held in Los Angeles, around Dodger Stadium, and is also working on the return of New York.”
Forbes reports that Formula E continues to grow on the business side. With seven major car manufacturers, an extensive sponsorship base, and growing fan interest, what was once seen as a fringe racing series is growing more mainstream.
“With each season, Formula E is gaining traction on television and with streaming. Now in its ninth season, heading into the Portland event, races on CBS were up +7%, and numbers around the globe are seeing significant upticks. By adding additional races in India, Brazil, and South Africa there has been a combined growth of 94% in cumulative audience vs last season. That will only grow further in season 10 next year with the addition of an expanded U.S. TV deal with CBS, that features simulcasting on Paramount+ and a big feather in their cap when Formula E becomes the first live-sports streaming partner with Roku.”
Despite the fact that some F1 drivers think that unused wet racing tires get thrown away, Porsche has explained why this assumption is wrong. Pirelli’s head of F1 and motorsport Mario Isola told Autosport: “For the European events, we keep the tyres fitted on rims, and we carry over the tyres that are new. So we supply the teams with the same sets [as previous races]. For overseas events, it is more complicated because the rims have to travel with the teams, while the tyres have to go with us for customs reasons.”
With rumblings from some F1 team principals that the series should maybe decrease the electric component of the 2026 F1 powertrain, Jonathan Noble of Autosport Plus explains why F1’s biggest danger is not being ambitious with its 2026 rules.
“If F1 reaches that moment where it is thinking about engines for the next few decades, then it will mean that it has successfully weathered the next few years where there will be big changes in the automotive world and grand prix racing’s road relevance has to remain the priority. There is no alternative right now. If F1 ploughed on without thinking about its environmental optics and dug out the old V8s, then it would face huge dangers.”
There was no World Rallycross Championship action at Lydden Hill last weekend as Sunday’s racing had been canceled due to safety concerns following the fire which destroyed both of Special One Racing’s cars and its transporter. “The FIA is said to have launched “urgent investigations” into the root cause of the fire, in conjunction with the local fire service, while battery supplier Kreisel has provided “technical assistance on-site”.”