NXT Gen Cup Races On a Bigger Stage

The NXT Gen Cup electric touring car series will be racing on a bigger stage in 2024 as they will be supporting both Formula E and the DTM. This is a huge move for the series and the visibility will give young racers interested in sustainable motorsport a viable option to move up the electric racing ladder.

I also have some great news about the growth of Formula E, why the final season of Extreme E might be the most exciting and a significant sustainability partnership for McLaren.

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

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Sustainable Motorsport News

McLaren Ecolab

McLaren Racing has announced Ecolab as an Official Partner of the McLaren Formula 1 Team for the 2024 season and beyond. Ecolab, a global leader offering water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions, will support McLaren on its sustainability mission and journey towards net zero emissions.

The multi-year partnership with Ecolab will support the development of a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) program to accelerate McLaren’s overall strategy of decarbonising its Formula 1 logistics and operations. The organizations will work together to incorporate SAF into the delivery of McLaren’s net zero commitment of halving emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2040.

While I have mentioned in this column how well Formula E has done in the third edition of the Sustainable Motorsport Index, IndyCar and the World Rally Championship are doing well and moving up the rankings.

WRC moved up from 22nd in the previous year’s index to 14th place after earning environmental 3-Star Accreditation from the FIA, motorsport’s governing body. Meanwhile, IndyCar, which switched to 100% renewable race fuel last year, zoomed from 68th spot to 21st.

Global Sustainable Sport looks at the results of the latest Global Sustainability Benchmark in Sports report and asks the question, who is setting the benchmark for sports sustainability?

The third edition of the Global Sustainability Benchmark in Sports (GSBS) report was recently published, detailing the initiatives of clubs and organisations attempting to be more considerate of their environmental impact. But how many have actually improved on their goals for sustainability – and are any slipping behind in the race?”

In the second installment of Global Sustainable Sport’s two-part investigation, they take a look at the impact that the world’s estimated four billion sports fans have on the industry’s carbon footprint — and how clubs and events across the world are beginning to tackle this huge problem.

The scale of the problem is vast. Research from rail platform Trainline published last year found that Premier League fans heading to away matches by car could collectively save 4,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every season if they switched to travelling by train.”

NXT Gen Cup Races On a Bigger Stage

Just to show that the issue of sustainable motorsport is not a recent phenomena, check out this Wired article from 2009 on race driver Nelson Philippe who discusses his outlook on sustainability and motorsport.

It’s human to evolve and to move, and if we stop moving, we stop being human. Movement is in us. That’s why we drive cars,” he said. After a brief pause, he added, “People aren’t going to stop driving, so we better be green.”

Sustainable Motorsport Tech

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

The video in this article is in German so you may need to do some fancy translating from German to English but this is a summary of the topic covered which is e-fuels.

“As much as I like Sebastian with his bees, something like that is of course really important for us,” says Formula 1 expert Ralf Schumacher about the topic of e-fuels in motorsport. In this discussion video we talk to him and an e-fuel expert about the topic of alternative fuels and why they are not progressing as quickly as many would like.”

“We also clarify the question of what e-fuels actually are, what their greatest strengths are in terms of climate protection and what criticisms and prejudices there are against e-fuels. With know-how from a man who knows exactly what he is talking about: Benjamin Cuyt from P1 Fuels in Berlin.”

Last Sunday’s Super Bowl between the 49ers and the Chiefs will be the first Super Bowl powered completely by renewable energy. In fact, because of a landmark deal between the team and a local utility that the author helped negotiate with the assistance of Nevada regulatory counsel, Curt Ledford (Davison Van Cleve), the 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas is the only stadium in the country exclusively and directly powered by renewable energy. LawinSport looks at how other teams can follow in the Raiders’ footsteps

Series News

NXT Gen Cup

Formula E has announced that the NXT Gen Cup, the world’s first 100% electric junior touring car series with both male and female drivers, will be a support series to help develop the next generation of young talent in key motorsport markets. The NXT Gen Cup will also be supporting the DTM.

Alberto Longo, Co-Founder and Chief Championship Officer of Formula E, said: “We are delighted to welcome the NXT Gen Cup after their hugely successful debut last year. The addition of an all-electric junior category to the European part of our calendar will further contribute to the essential nurturing of young talent, a key part to our sport and give them the opportunity to race on the same stage as our world-class drivers and teams.”

Fredrik Lestrup, series founder of NXT Gen Cup, said: “For NXT Gen Cup to go from an idea on paper less than two years ago to racing together with the ABB FIA Formula E and DTM this year is mind-boggling and an inspiring proof on the hard work by everyone involved.

“We have together with Formula E and DTM created a spectacular calendar which will provide our junior drivers with a robust foundation to start their racing careers and show their talents to some of the best teams and partners in the world. I want to extend a huge thanks to everyone who has made this possible and we are thoroughly motivated to start our most exciting season so far!”

The Swedish-born series will feature two 20-minute practice sessions (except Monaco with just FP1), a 20-minute qualifying session and a 20-minute race, also bolstering Formula E’s commitment to growing sustainable motorsport and EV technology.

The single-make series runs an all-electric car developed and built by Lestrup Racing Team, the LRT NXT1 – a 1150kg machine based on an electric MINI Cooper SE road car. The front-wheel drive, 180bhp race car boasts an extra 60bhp when push-to-pass features are active, with a 30kWh battery and 800 V system. Features also include regen when braking, adjustable Ӧhlins shock absorbers and Hankook Semi-slick all-weather tyres. 20 race cars have been built for the series, giving all drivers equal equipment. All charging operations are handled together with NXT Gen Cup’s Official charging partners ABB E-Mobility.

Formula E has announced the relocation of its global logistics headquarters to the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia, marking a significant operational shift. This strategic relocation is coupled with an ambitious expansion of the Circuit, transforming it into a cutting-edge development hub for the all-electric ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

The new location will also become the series’ permanent test track and development centre, with dedicated test sessions and offices. The Circuit will host track days, featuring developmental, current, and previous generation cars, providing a unique opportunity for individuals to gain in-depth knowledge about the championship, explore EV technology, and experience driving the cars first hand.

Alberto Longo, Co-Founder and Chief Championship Officer, Formula E, said: “This move to the Ricardo Tormo Circuit is an important step for the championship in maintaining the most sustainable freight routes possible while using it as a base for developing future generations of our race cars. Having a permanent centre at the circuit in Valencia will feel to me and many at Formula E like home, while keeping us at the cutting edge of EV technology as well as showcasing our unique sport to guests and future partners of the championship.”

Julia Pallé, VP, Sustainability at Formula E, says there’s a strong alignment between Formula E and Saudi Arabia to help build a more sustainable future.

Julia Pallé, Vice President of Sustainability at Formula E, praised the Kingdom’s efforts. She said: “There’s a very strong alignment between Formula E and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia especially through its Vision 2030 Plan which is focused on building a more sustainable future.

“We always make sure we have a consistent approach on using renewable energy for all races and in Diriyah, the B100 biofuel was used to power generators which not only charged the cars but also provided the energy to light up the track at night.”

Pallé says this partnership is a ‘turning point’ that can help accelerate the growth of electric mobility. She said: “This is a turning point as it showcases at the highest level from a government perspective that they view Formula E as a platform for the future of electric mobility.

Sam Smith of The Race answers the question, did Formula E make the most of its best shot at an audience?

Irrespective of the collation of the figures, and we have to take Formula E at its word on what was presented and released via PR, Formula E showcasing itself amid NFL matches, and in the UK on the back of Premier League games on TNT Sports, was much more inspired than the generally lamentable trailering on terrestrial channels over the last few years.”

Tokyo E-Prix Track

Sam Smith also looks at the new Tokyo E-Prix which he calls the most important race in Formula E’s history.

What appears to have swung things in the race’s favour was also the confirmation that the E-Prix would be part of a large-scale Zero Emissions Vehicle event, around the site of the race, in the Ariake district of Tokyo. This is a vital part of the deal for Formula E with a significant number of exhibitors, speakers and guests ready to showcase sustainable mobility in and around the race itself. For the manufacturers involved in Formula E this is vital and one of the key reasons why they were attracted to the championship in the first place: sport, mobility, marketing and exposure in some of the world’s most vibrant and progressive global centres.”

While there is excitement about Tokyo, there is disappointment about India with Formula E indicating that they would love to return to the country but only with a stable decision.

I would love in the future to be back racing in India, but I think that needs to be a stable decision,” Formula E CEO Jeff Dodds told Autosport. “Forget India for a second, any race, I don’t want the calendar to ever be in jeopardy where up until the last minute there’s still volatility around whether a race will happen or not. Calendar stability is incredibly important for the series, for building a fanbase.”

Formula E has been shortlisted for the FEVO Sport Industry Awards in the Sport Organisation of the Year category. The FEVO Sport Industry Awards celebrates the work involved in delivering world-leading events of all formats, or properties using sport as a platform to strive for social change.

Business of Motorsport for April 29, 2022

Green Racing News looks at the evolution of the Gen3 Formula E car. “The new GEN3 is lighter, smaller, faster and more sustainable than its predecessor, and incorporates a number of cutting-edge features intended to inspire and inform major automakers about their next moves in the consumer car market, while demonstrating that no compromises need to be made in an electric race car.”

The 2024 Extreme E Season may be the most exciting season yet despite the move to hydrogen in 2024 and the loss of the Chip Ganassi Racing and X44 teams. For one thing, Jimmie Johnson and Travis Pastrana will be joining the series.

Of the big-name champion drivers who’ve ventured into team ownership, Johnson is likely be the most credible from behind the wheel. His Garage 56 teammate Jenson Button quit driving after one race when he realized he wasn’t up to the task, Nico Rosberg has been comfortable enough serving just as a team boss – Johan Kristoffersson steamrolls the competition in what could’ve been his seat – while Lewis Hamilton never even ventured into the paddock during his team’s three-year stay in the series, the seven-time Formula 1 world champion’s participation limited to a handful of social media video appearances.”

On its current trajectory, the NTT IndyCar Series’ plans for going hybrid near the halfway point of the 2024 season should bring a return to significant horsepower displays in short bursts.

You’ve got to be on qualifying power with energy deployment and push-to-pass active,” Andretti Global’s Kyle Kirkwood told RACER. “It’s not like the hybrid system can hold enough juice to run an entire straight flat out; that would just require too big of a battery. But for short bursts, like off the corners. you’re gonna be looking at around 850 horsepower.”

The video above is from the Bridgestone Winter Eco Rally 2024 in Östersund, Sweden. Eco Rally is a rally for electric cars, where the goal is to complete each route at a given speed, time and at the lowest energy consumption.

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup

Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) has revealed that its factory team Team HRC will compete in the FIM E-Xplorer World Cup, an international electric all-terrain motorcycle racing series, riding the CR Electric Proto electric motocrosser.

The FIM E-Xplorer World Cup, initiated in 2023, features electric off-road motorcycles with mixed-gender teams. This season will include a preliminary round for men and women, followed by three-heat races to determine the top three teams.

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.