Super Formula Goes Carbon Neutral and More Sustainable Motorsport News

Last month, the Japanese Super Formula series unveiled their carbon neutral SF23 race car set to debut in 2023. This is significant as they looked to optimize the use of natural fibre in their body panels and reduce the use of carbon fibre.

In addition to this, there were a number of other interesting sustainable motorsport developments that occurred since my last Sustainable Motorsport News Roundup including how Porsche is emphasizing sustainability in their motorsport activities, how Portugal’s Circuito do Sol is aiming to become Europe’s first fully sustainable circuit venue, a test of a hydrogen-powered Corolla racing prototype and Radical Motorsport’s new race car that can use biofuel.

I also have video of the 100% electric LRT NXT1 testing at Calafat in Spain, why Mercedes pulled out of Formula E, a fully subscribed all-electric STCC grid and much more.

All this in the first Sustainable Motorsport New Roundup for 2023. Its green news racers can use!

Sustainable Motorsport News

Porsche GT4 e-Performance
Porsche GT4 e-Performance

During last December’s Night of Champions, Porsche were very clear in stressing how important sustainability is to the brand. “Sustainability and electrification are hugely important for a sports car manufacturer like Porsche. Our motorsport activities reflect this,” said Thomas Laudenbach, vice president Porsche Motorsport. “The new GT4 e-Performance is an example. The highly innovative prototype represents our vision of a 100-percent electrically powered customer sport racing vehicle. We’re competing in Formula E with the Porsche 99X Electric Gen3, and the new 963 features hybrid technology.”

Carbon Positive Motorsport catches up with Formula G’s championship Manager John Birrell as they discuss the series sustainability initiatives in its inaugural year. “John recently purchased Carbon Neutral offset of 1,180 litres of fuel – this was the amount of fuel used by his Formula G drivers in 2022. The total cost to offset the year’s complete championship was only £165.20. It just goes to show, we can help anyone in motorsport to make a sustainable and promotable positive environmental impact for a relatively small investment.”

You can find out more about Carbon Positive Motorsport in my exclusive chat with founder Paul Glass here.

Super Formula Goes Carbon Neutral and More Sustainable Motorsport News
Circuito do Sol

Portugal’s Circuito do Sol is Europe’s newest motorsport venue, and the first to be specifically designed for eco-sustainability and the testing and racing of EVs. Their mission is to build and operate the world’s first fully sustainable circuit venue. Circuito do Sol combines in one facility a solar-powered and ecologically sustainable racing venue tailored to electric motorsport, a race resort for motorsport enthusiasts, a science hub for the new technologies needed to support future racing and a motorsport academy to train the next generation of drivers, mechanics and engineers.

Sustainable Motorsport Tech

In the video above, watch Best Motoring test a hydrogen-powered Corolla Prototype built by Toyota. “Toyota invited two of Best Motoring’s drivers, Keiichi Tsuchiya and Nobuteru Taniguchi, to get behind the wheel of the caged, stripped out track special Corolla to convince them and their viewers that hydrogen is the future. Development of the car has only been going on for a year, and as such, Best Motoring is the first to touch this car outside of Toyota. We’re not jealous. Not one bit.”

Porsche’s synthetic eFuel plant has recently opened in Chile. “Located in the south of Chile, this facility generates eFuel from water and carbon dioxide using wind energy. In fact, this plant’s location was chosen specifically because of how windy the area is, giving the eFuel plant the energy supply it needs to keep cranking out barrels.” Motor Trend looks at the technology behind the fuel.

The JEC Group looks at how Bcomp, has developed an all-new high-performance natural fibre composite interior together with Porsche for their Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS.

Radical SR3 XXR

Radical Motorsport has revealed their updated XXR version of the SR3, the first version that can run on biofuel. “Delivering 232bhp from the revised 1500cc unit, the lightweight SR3 XXR is expected to maintain its power-to-weight ratio exceeding 350hp per tonne, while it is also the first Radical that can run on biofuel.”

In the video above, watch how the McMurtry Electric Fan Car clocked a 7.9-Second quarter-mile.

Series News

The video above ia a hot lap during testing for the inaugural NXT Gen Cup season with the 100% electric LRT NXT1 at Calafat in Spain. The LRT NXT1 race car is based on the electric MINI Cooper SE road car that has been purpose-built for racing by Lestrup Racing Team, the founders of NXT Gen Cup. The car features a 30kWh battery with an electric, liquid cooled motor which produces 230hp pending circuit – including push-to-pass functionality. The front-wheel drive cars can run 20-minute races at full pace thanks to comprehensive development by NXT Gen Cup in a wide array of conditions.

The WSC Group has announced that the TCR hybrid system has been delayed until 2024, stating the “change of format of World Touring Car competition” as reason. “This decision has been dictated by the new scenario that opened following the change of format of World Touring Car competition,” said WSC president Marcello Lotti.

In F1: Racing to Save the Planet, CSM Sport & Entertainment’s Managing Director, Strategy and Insights, Aled Rees, explains why the ‘gas guzzling’ stereotypes are obsolete as the sport puts the planet on pole. “To the uninitiated, the annual global tour of rubber-stained asphalt chicanes, roaring engines, adoring ‘petrolheads’ and champagne-fuelled celebrities – particularly when set against its silent, electronic sibling – appears to be purposeless. Entertainment at the expense of the planet. However, the problem is perception. The reality is that Formula One is at the forefront of the industry when it comes to identifying solutions that may help address the climate emergency.”

Extreme E has signed up to the United Nations’ (UN) Sports for Nature Declaration, part of the non-governmental organisation’s drive for sporting organisations to do more for sustainability. It is a green framework aims to safeguard nature, contribute to biodiversity goals and restore key ecosystems by 2030. “Through our championship, working alongside the UN and together with our leading scientists and partners, we are proud to sign the Sports for Nature declaration and play our part in supporting a low-carbon future. This is yet further evidence of our commitment towards environmental responsibility and extensive efforts to promote sustainability.”

IndyCar has been working with technology development company MAHLE to design the systems for its upcoming hybrid conversion, and now will look continue the final steps of that development in-house. Work on the new hybrid system, which will be used to power the push-to-pass system on the cars starting in 2024, has successfully met a few key milestones in development. “The new hybrid system will use supercapacitors rather than batteries, which will cut down on the amount of weight added to the cars when it is implemented in 2024. The design is reportedly compact enough to fit entirely between the 2.2-liter engine and the transmission, which is unique among other hybrid systems in the racing world.”

Japanese open-wheel championship Super Formula unveiled a new carbon-neutral car last month, looking ahead to the series’ 50th anniversary season in 2023 — part of the SF Next 50 initiative to drive motorsports toward a more sustainable future.

“Carbon fiber bodywork is used extensively throughout the motorsport industry and is responsible for a substantial carbon footprint. Many of the carbon fiber parts used in racing end up in landfill when damaged in a race or no longer needed. Bcomp’s innovative “ampliTex” and “powerRibs” composite technologies are made from flax fiber and offer a promising solution and have already extensively proven their performance across the board in motorsports series from F1 to Formula E, Extreme E, DTM and GT4 on Porsche, Mercedes Benz-AMG and BMW M GT cars.”

“With low density and excellent mechanical properties, flax fibers are a significantly more sustainable option for developing high-performance composites. The unique combination of ‘ampliTex’ flax fabrics with the patented ‘powerRibs’ reinforcement grid allows this natural fiber composite solution to match the low weight and high stiffness of carbon fiber bodywork parts in a drastically more sustainable package.”

“Analysis conducted in past projects showed that Bcomp’s high-performance natural fiber composites enable a reduction of 90 percent in material CO2 emissions when compared to carbon fiber parts as well as an over 80 percent reduction of CO2 emissions from cradle to gate, considering all production steps from raw material to the final part.”

Super Formula Press Release

The Race is arguing that embattled Formula E is in survival mode going into 2023. “Through PR and other tools it will artfully sheen over some of the issues – poor parts supply, limited spare parts, unreliable components, accidents caused by unreliable components, logistical maladies, safety concerns, delayed fast-charging ambitions and the all-round underwhelming pace of the new car which was evidenced at Valencia. If Formula E can’t get what should be considered the basics right, what chance does it have of becoming a sporting proposition that can be taken as seriously as Formula 1 or the World Rally Championship? This question is being asked up and down the pitlane right now.”

The Race also notes that a the unique design of the Gen3 Formula E car could cause issues for teams that need to repair or replace cars that are damaged in pre-race sessions this season according to a series champion.

Toto Wolff has explained the reason why Mercedes pulled out of Formula E after spending three years in the championship and it was because of the low TV viewing figures. “It’s the same in Formula E, the audiences were just not good enough. So you have DTM there, and then you have Formula E here, and then you have F1 in the whole room. So, we decided that let’s concentrate on doing that properly and put the resources into F1, rather than being distracted and dilutive for the other things.”

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for January 7, 2023

The inaugural season for the STCC under electric power will feature a capacity grid of twelve cars after confirmation that all production slots for the new 550hp machines have been filled. The Exion Racing, Team Auto Lounge Racing and Brink Motorsport teams have all confirmed three cars apiece, leaving one team still to be confirmed running the final three cars. Plans are in place to expand the field to 18 cars from 2024.

STCC was the first in the world to be an environmentally certified championship and to introduce ethanol and biogas. Electrification is our biggest step forward ever, not only in terms of climate-smart solutions, but also overall in terms of the sporting, entertainment level and infrastructure.”

Every Little Bit Counts

Every Little Bit Counts looks at small steps that you can take to decrease your environmental impact and increase your sustainability.

  • Sustainability Magazine has tips on how you can start out the new year in a more sustainable way.

Everywhere there is a conversation about sustainability. While some people converse, some people argue, and some people even take action. The most significant thing is to take action for our future, whether it be more or less than others. Here at Sustainability Magazine, we look at some of the most simple daily routines you might adopt in 2023 for a more mindful & Sustainable Year…Click here to read all their tips.

Sustainability Magazine

The Big Picture

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for January 7, 2023

Sebastian Vettel said an internal conflict in regards to his impact on the climate was one of the reasons he decided to retire from Formula 1. “Seeing the world changing, I think I have a sort of conflict inside and I think the world needs to change, we [F1] need to change and wanting to be a bit more part of, I don’t want to say the solution, but maybe a little bit less of the problem,” the German said.

Getting to the Track Sustainably

Getting to the Track Sustainably is my occasional column on developments in sustainable transportation that could have some application to motorsport. Since the majority of carbon emissions come from logistics and transportation, this topic is of utmost importance as motorsport works to make itself more sustainable. Here are some articles you may find of interest.

Sustainable Ground Transportation

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for January 7, 2023

Sustainable Aviation

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for January 7, 2023
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.