Let’s be perfectly clear, sustainable motorsport is still motorsport through and through. As Michael Andretti stated when asked about his Formula E team, racing is racing.
Why do I say this? Because too often I hear the comment that racing using sustainable technologies, especially electric racing, is not real racing because it has “no soul” or no sound. Yet if you look at teams like Four Motors, Hansen Motorsport or manufactures like Scalar Performance or Nissan, their opinion will be the same as that of Michael, racing is racing.
This week I showcase several technologies, series, race teams and general sustainable motorsport news that will explain how sustainable motorsport is simply racing that is trying to lessen its impact on the environment while going faster than everyone else.
All this and more in this week’s Sustainable Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Its green news racers can use.
Sustainable Motorsport News
Bcomp, a leading solutions provider for natural fibre reinforcements in high performance applications from race to space profiles race team Four Motors on their website and their 20 Years of Sustainable Rebellion.
“Driven by a passion for both motorsports and the environment, Four Motors has consistently sought to inspire positive change, both on and off the track. By working closely with leading partners, the team has made significant strides in advancing sustainable mobility, setting itself apart from other teams in the motorsport industry. With its specially configured ‘Bioconcept-Cars, Four Motors has competed in endurance races around the world, demonstrating efficient and effective use of state-of-the-art renewable technologies and advanced recycling processes.”
The ERA Championship has announced that their race car, the Mitsu-Bachi F110e, has been officially approved by the FIA, making it the world’s first entry-level electric series to receive FIA approval. This is a major milestone for the ERA Championship and a demonstration of our commitment to sustainable motorsport.
“The FIA approval of the Mitsu-Bachi F110e is a validation of our mission to promote sustainable motorsport and reduce carbon emissions. We are proud to be leading the way in this transition, and we believe that the approval of our car is an important step towards establishing electric vehicles as a viable alternative to traditional combustion engines in the world of motorsport.”
Lucy Block, wife of the late Ken Block, will honor the rally driver’s legacy by competing at this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Block will drive the Sierra Echo EV adorned with a livery reminiscent of the 2020 look of Ken Block’s Ford Escort Cosworth V2.
“The Sierra Echo EV is based on one of Sierra Cars’ race-bred off-road vehicles, but powered by an all-electric drivetrain developed by Utah’s Hypercraft USA. The 1,350lb Echo EV delivers a peak power figure of 225 kW — the equivalent of around 300hp — thanks to three 18.6 kWh batteries. It’s good for a top speed of 120mph with 368 ft/lbs of torque at a maximum of 12,000rpm.”
A group of executives are seeking an investment of $100m to revive A1GP which was also known as the World Cup of Motorsport. A1 Grand Prix first launched in 2005 and the teams represented countries rather than brands. The series ran during F1’s off-season but came to an end in 2009 following financial difficulties.
“The teams would be composed of one experienced racing driver, and one younger competitor who would be selected through an annual talent competition that could itself be televised. The series would take place across 12 races in Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific between December and July. Sky also report that the series expects to minimise air freight costs for both financial and environmental reasons. In terms of fans, ticket prices would reportedly be low. The cars would also use sustainable fuel in recognition of growing environmental concerns.”
The cancellation of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix will unlikely be the last as climate change impacts the sport. The Guardian looks at what potentially lies ahead for Formula 1 and sports in general in this new age.
F1 has not shied away from addressing the problem and Ellen Jones, F1’s head of environment, social and governance, conceded that it was a major issue facing the sport. F1 was considering that at a certain point it could still only offset emissions, yet their form and credibility remain a still undecided fixture for the future.
“When it comes to unavoidable emissions after we have finished our investment in reduction, that is really important,” she says. “My response to offsets is clear. We are focused on carbon reduction, we understand that as we get closer to 2030 that offsets the balance to zero of unavoidable emissions will need to be reviewed.
“So we are watching it to ensure there is credibility when we make those purchases, but F1 can also give back and support the development of technical offsets through technology. It’s a really important point that people focus on reduction first. For unavoidable emissions we will have to look at what credible carbon removal looks like.”After the flood, storms lie ahead for Formula One in race to hit carbon zero
Formula E’s sustainable innovation summit – Change. Accelerated. Live. – returns for its second showcase event at the 2023 Hankook London E-Prix at ExCeL London. The day will bring together experts from across motorsport, sustainability, politics, education and more.
Sign up here to attend.
Here is the latest video from sustainable motorsport consultants Right Hub.
As part of its strategic vision to recognize the development of future propulsion solutions, Motorsport UK has confirmed the Motorsport UK Bambino Kart Class will have an electrified powertrain option, Electric Bambino, from 2024.
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
Scalar Performance hit another big milestone in the development of the SCR1 all-electric touring race car with EV specialist and professional race car driver Randy Pobst joining the Development Team for a full day of on-track testing at Atlanta Motorsports Park.
Caterham has unveiled an all-electric EV Seven but they aim to stay true to their company DNA.
“Any future EV model we produce must be true to the DNA of a Caterham: lightweight, fun to drive and driver-focused,” said Bob Laishley, CEO of Caterham. “The main objective for this project is to develop a vehicle with a weight delta of no more than the equivalent of having a passenger on board. We’re never going to launch a one-ton Seven – we’d rather not do it.”
International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) EU and ISCC Plus have been awarded to XFuel, enabling the company to manufacture its low- and zero-carbon fuel in line with stringent sustainability criteria. These include the ability to trace materials across the supply chain and demonstrate greenhouse gas savings.
XFuels’ conversion technology uses waste feedstocks and oils from the agricultural, forestry, construction and manufacturing sectors to produce sustainable drop-in fuels for the road, marine and aviation transportation industries.
Take a first and exclusive look at the NTT IndyCar Series’ new hybrid engine technology that’s coming in 2024 done in partnership with Chevrolet and Honda in RACER’s four-part series. You can watch them all above.
“Go-karting is an exciting motorsport that has captured the hearts of many enthusiasts worldwide. However, when choosing between a sports electric or an ICE (internal combustion engine) go-kart, the decision can be quite overwhelming. Both options have unique advantages and disadvantages, ultimately depending on your preferences and requirements. In this article, we will delve into the differences, pros, and cons of electric and ICE go-karts to help you make an informed decision when choosing which type of kart to use for your next race or recreational activity.”
The Mercedes F1 team made a lot of news in the world of sustainable motorsport this week.
First up was the announcement of their new Silicon Valley-like campus renovation in Brackley (see photo above) scheduled to be completed by the end of 2025.
“The changes to the facility — which Mercedes has used since 2017 and purchased last year — will include office buildings, restaurants, and gyms. The facility will use 100% renewable energy and aim to reduce water consumption by 50% per person per day, as well as 60% of office waste.”
The second bit of news from Mercedes F1 is how the sustainability exemptions to the cost cap will allow them to target a fully biofueled European Season.
Alice Ashpitel, head of sustainability at the Mercedes Formula One team, said: “Our aspiration to achieve a fully biofueled European season is a challenging and complex project which has been ongoing behind the scenes at the team for over a year. With the support and collaborative effort of our expert partners, we are tackling a key pillar in our strategy for achieving Net Zero and supporting the wider adoption of HVO100 across the sport and logistics industries.”
Racing News365 reports how Ford Performance Motorsports Global Director Mark Rushbrook has underlined the cohesion between the company’s vision and F1’s as the sport moves into a more environmentally friendly era.
“Our initial focus has been on electrification and is still very strong on electrification,” he explained. “But the reality is, there is also a lot there that needs to be developed on the ICE side and a lot that we can contribute and a lot that we can learn. So while we entered with a focus on electrification, we have said since the beginning and every day that nothing’s off the table. Anything that can help this partnership from inside Ford Motor Company is available, and anything that we can learn that is appropriate to share back, we will. Even things like additive manufacturing, we have hot some good resources there that can help out as well.”
With the announcement that Honda will be powering Aston Martin in 2026, the company explained why they did a U-turn after announcing their departure from F1.
“The biggest key factor for this decision this time around was the direction that the new 2026 regulations are facing towards, which is moving towards carbon neutrality,” said HRC president Koji Watanabe.”
A stellar judging panel of global experts has been announced by the Princess Grace Foundation for the inaugural Grace Influential Positive Impact Award, the winner of which will be announced at this weekend’s FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2023.
The judges have been tasked with scoring each submission against a range of robust criteria including their alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the F1 Sustainability Strategy, and the UNFCCC Sports for Climate Action Framework, as well as their synergy with the philanthropic spirit of the Princess Grace Foundation.
As Formula E moots a possible race in Malaga Spain, rumors are emerging of what the Gen 4 race format will be like. “With a high likelihood of slick tyres, or certainly a more traditional dry-weather racing tyre being introduced for 2026, a hike in power and performance will be relatively simple and will therefore add scope to expand different race formats.”
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Nissan Motorsports & Customizing Co., Ltd. (NMC) have announced the Nissan Z Racing Concept, which runs on carbon-neutral fuel, will enter the NAPAC Fuji SUPER TEC 24-h race, the second round of the ENEOS Super Taikyu Series 2023. The event will run from May 26 to 28 at Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture.
“From a sustainability perspective, we are taking on new challenges to expand our potential in motorsports,” said Takao Katagiri, head of Nissan’s Motorsports Business Unit Office and president of NMC. “We aim to get a lot of data through this tough 24-hour endurance race that we can use in future development, helping us create even more exciting cars for customers around the world.”
After reducing on track emissions by up to 92% over the last two years, ETRA has responsibly offset unavoidable emissions for the 2022 season Unavoidable emissions from the 2022 season have been offset through investing in projects certified according to strict requirements of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) following the recommendations of the UN.
Extreme E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag has left the door open for the series to allow technical development from teams, but has reiterated his desire to focus on providing a platform for hydrogen technology in the future instead. “So for the future in Extreme E, we may open some stuff but it’s probably more going in the direction of hydrogen. That’s where we are looking.”
Hansen Motorsport have become the first World Rallycross (World RX) team to achieve carbon neutrality. Susann Hansen, head of sustainability at Hansen Motorsport, said: “Hansen Motorsport has never been afraid of leading. Leading is what we strive for each day, whether that’s on or off the racetrack. When we had the chance to go fully electric in [World RX], it was jumping into something new. It was scary, but it was the right thing to do – and we felt it was also the opportunity to take our environmental commitments to a new level.