This week’s Sustainable Motorsport Round-Up covers everything once again from two wheels to four including Super Formula, the upcoming FIM E-Xplorer World Cup, Nitro Rallycross, MotoE, ERA Championship, Play and Drive’s Formula 4e prototype, Formula E, and some pretty awesome sustainable motorsport tech.
- Super Formula kicked off its next-generation development test program last week at Fuji Speedway, trialing environmentally-friendly tires and carbon-neutral fuel. “The power was enough for a ‘top formula’ car, and if we can set it up correctly, I think we can also achieve the same driveability.”
- “More than just racing, we are an attitude.” Check out the impressive video above for the new FIM E-Xplorer World Cup.
- Formula E has made great strides since the series started in 2014 but the recent dip in fan support means that the championship must regain the initiative. Hazel Southwell argues in RaceFans.net that these are the steps Formula E must take to recapture its audience.
- Nitro Rallycross (Nitro RX)—the rallycross racing series founded by Travis Pastrana in 2021—will launch its inaugural global season on June 18–19 at England’s Lydden Hill Race Circuit for the first of ten races staged in six countries, including Sweden, Finland, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. The 2022–23 Nitro RX season will also feature competition with the debut of the FC1-X in the new Group E division. Created by First Corner, LLC, in collaboration with QEV Technologies and Nitro RX, the FC1-X delivers the electric equivalent of 1,070 peak horsepower and accelerates from 0–60 in just 1.4 seconds. More details can be found here.
- Check out my look at Play and Drive’s Formula 4e electric prototype single-seater. These cars are racing on full -size FIA-grade circuits flat out for 15 minutes. There will be no energy or temperature management from the driver, just flat out racing.
- This is something you would not see even 5 years ago in any motorsport-related press release. In announcing their brand new GR Corolla, Toyota Gazoo Racing notes: “Toward realizing motorsports that are carbon-neutral and sustainable, the vehicle is aimed at honing, through motorsports, hydrogen engine technologies, which represent a new power source option. Participation using a hydrogen engine-equipped Corolla in the Super Taikyu Series started in 2021 with Round 3 under the banner of ROOKIE Racing.”
- Green Racing News interviews MotoE Executive Director Nicolas Goubert as he analyzes the 2022 Season in depth. “What we’ve realized so far is that the teams have 30 minutes of testing session, but they haven’t used them fully. So we decided for the upcoming season to have 20-minute sessions. Even for the first day of testing in Jerez we had 15 minutes, just to make sure that the teams are not overloading the batteries, so by the end of the day, they have it in the best possible condition,” he said in an interview for MotoE.”
- This was announced a few months back but details have now been released by Goodyear on what kind of tires will be used in the upcoming all-electric ERA Championship. “Each race will have slick tires (for a dry track) and wet track treads, being specifically adapted to the demands that the single-seaters of the category will exert on the tires, in addition to adapting to the sustainable philosophy of the ERA Championship.”
- New FIA rally director Andrew Wheatley says the picture should be clear by year’s end on where the World Rally Championship’s future lies with regards to the hot topic of power generation source. “While evolution will be the go instead of revolution, Wheatley noted “very active” discussions continue to centre around power source, with progress on that direction expected soon enough.”
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
- Curious about the new hybrid system in the upcoming GTP/LMHd sportscars that will be racing in IMSA and the WEC? Well IMSA has produced just the thing for you with their Hybrid 101: Learn More about How LMDh Hybrid Power Works.
- I could not have said this any better. In his The Greener Future of Motorsports column, J.G. Pasterjak in Grassroots Motorsports argues that sustainable motorsport is happening whether we like it or not. “Sooner or later, we’re all going to have to face the reality that the motorsports we love are heavily resource-intensive undertakings. Sorry, that’s just how it is. I’m not here to preach, bum you out, or drive mad clicks with my scorching hot takes, but this is a discussion we need to have seriously and often, before it’s had for us.”
- BMW have announced their lead investment in the Series B financing round of Bcomp. Bcomp has developed several materials from flax fibers that provide sustainable and lightweight automotive interiors and exteriors including reinforcement grids and coverings. “In order to reduce the average carbon footprint of fleets, automotive players will have to find new levers to reduce carbon emissions. One avenue for auto OEMs to reduce their impact is to mitigate the impact from production by replacing energy-intensive thermoplastic composites with sustainable natural composites. Conventional internal car components are made of materials that are high in cost and weight relative to those made from natural fiber composites.”
- Porsche has announced a big step forward in the production of commercial liquid synthetic fuels: an investment of $75 million in Chilean eFuel producer Highly Innovative Fuels (HIF). The sports car manufacturer initially plans to use the eFuel from Chile in motorsport flagship projects. In the future, it is also conceivable that they will be used to fuel the company’s own vehicles with combustion engines during initial fuelling at the factory, and at Porsche Experience Centers. Porsche’s transaction to acquire a stake in HIF Global LLC is subject to approval by the relevant antitrust authorities.
- Battery technology has evolved rapidly since Formula E, the first-ever all-electric open-wheel racing series, hit the track for the first time in 2014. Skepticism reigned, but the evolution of battery technology has also been unmatched. “I think when [FE] first started, there was a skepticism about the batteries,” Duncan Laycock, the Chief Technical Officer of the NIO 333 team explains to Jalopnik. . “And certainly I was involved with some projects in the past where we had thermal runaways, but then the technology was in its infancy then. Nowadays it’s really robust. The infrastructure that’s in place for the transportation of them, the battery monitoring systems that they have on board, all of the shutdown procedures, and the discharge procedures that we have on the car, really means it is quite robust.”
- Does hydrogen have a place in motorsport? Hazel Southwell argues that it does in Why hydrogen could offer the combustion engine a future in some motorsports. While there are complications and it is not suitable for all forms of motorsport, it definitely has a future in racing. “There are issues with the way that hydrogen is generated (primarily from fossil fuels) and there are a lot of questions about whether it could, realistically, be a fuel for mass transit. However, racing series could have the option of using green hydrogen (generated by splitting water with electrolysis) offering the magical combination of a fuel that will run in a roaring engine which could also be burned in a way that generates nothing but water as waste.”
- This is pretty wild technology as electric motorcycle manufacturing company Cake is studying using paper as a substitute for plastic on electric motorcycles. “Cake was founded to inspire a zero-emission society”, is how Stefan Ytterborn (CEO and founder) defines his electric motorcycle manufacturing company, Cake. Offering a final product as sustainable as possible has been one of the main objectives of the Swedish company, therefore, they develop solutions to eradicate plastic from their vehicles.”
- Finally, McLaren Racing has retained their FIA three-star Environmental Accreditation for a ninth year. “Since achieving the accreditation for the first time in 2013 and becoming the first Formula 1 team to do so, McLaren Racing has consistently demonstrated its leadership within the motorsport industry with a record number of accreditation renewals.”