There has been a bunch of interesting news regarding sustainable motorsport since the last column so let’s get into it!
McLaren and the value of Extreme E
Extreme E has been making waves in motorsport by attracting a lot of big name to the series including Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Well you can add McLaren Racing to the list as they have announced that they will be going racing in Extreme E. McLaren has made no secret that they have been evaluating Formula E but this move caught a lot of people off guard.
Meanwhile, Veloce Racing is explaining how their participation in Extreme E is creating commercial opportunities for them, something of somewhat significance for the financial sustainability of any racing team.
Indycar starts on the Hybrid Path
The next generation of Indycar engines will be hybrid with testing scheduled to begin in early 2022. While the quest is still on for a third engine manufacturer, Honda and Chevrolet are fully on board and committed.
Why are F1 cars so heavy and more F1 news
One of the consequences of Formula 1 going to hybrid engines is the increase in weight they brought to the cars. Granted some of the weight increase has been from safety improvements but as Lewis Hamilton asks, if F1 wants to become more sustainable, why are the cars so heavy?
Hopefully the new generation of engines to be introduced in 2025 will be lighter but we do know they will be powered by sustainable fuels, something that Formula 1 is keen to start making well known in the coming months and years. As the Commercial Director of Sauber Motorsport AG Yen Lefort pointed out recently on LinkedIn:
In 2025 our aim is to unveil the new Formula 1 power unit and it will be a 100% sustainably fuelled (second generation) hybrid engine that will be carbon neutral but maintain the power and speed we all enjoy and expect.
The 100% sustainable fuels that we are working on would not only reduce the environmental impact of all new and existing ICE based road-cars globally, but also to have a potential impact on some of the largest emitting sectors of heavy road transport, shipping, and aviation.100% SUSTAINABLY FUELLED F1 HYBRID ENGINE BY 2025
One of his points that I have consistently maintained and agreed with is that there is no one solution, certainly no one solution that should be mandated by any government.
We believe that multiple technologies will be required to sufficiently reduce Green House Gas emissions from the transport sector in line with the Paris Agreement targets and that pursuing a single electrification path would be a mistake in terms of costs, GHG reductions and delivery timelines.100% SUSTAINABLY FUELLED F1 HYBRID ENGINE BY 2025
Motorcycling begins their sustainability journey
The sustainability efforts of Motorcycle racing is not to be forgotten. MotoE is for want of a better explanation the motorcycle equivalent to Formula E and their commitment to sustainability is admirable and extensive. Now Kattia Juárez Dubón, director of the International Sustainability Commission for the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) has explained to the Sustainability Report their extensive plans and initiatives to be more sustainable.
Porsche Supercup and sustainable fuels
For the first time, the car’s ca. 375 kW (510 hp) four-litre naturally aspirated engine will run on Esso Renewable Racing Fuel, a blend of fuels predominantly made from renewable, bio-based components. The switch to eFuel, which is based on hydrogen produced using renewable electricity, is planned over the course of the 2022 season.Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup starts the season with renewable fuels
Nobody is saying that sustainable fuels are the long term solution but I think you will see more series utilizing them as they transition to battery and fuel cell technology which makes sense to me. You can read more about their plans in Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup starts the season with renewable fuels.
Nitro Rallycross announces 2022 global expansion and electric plans
Rallycross is an exciting form of motorsport that is perfectly suited to electrification. As Nitro Rallycross has announced their 2022 global expansion plans they have also announced their new FC1-X electric rallycross car.
QEV Technologies and Olsbergs MSE team have collaborated to develop the FC1-X, the vehicle which will be used in the class. A ground-breaking development in electric rallycross technology, the car boasts a top speed of 180 mph and can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 1.5 seconds.Nitro Rallycross announces 2022 global expansion teams
More details can be found here.
Rob Smedley believes that electric karting is not only the right thing to do for the environment but it could also make karting and motorsport more accessible at the same time. For the first time they are included at a Motorsport UK club event and they could not be happier. What I admire about Rob Smedley is that he is walking the talk and doing something about both the sustainability of motorsport as well as grassroots accessibility to motorsport. He should be an example to all those in the upper echelon of motorsport who point out problems yet do not invest the time or resources to do something about it. You can find out more about the series at the Total Karting Zero website.
Over at Vroom they test the latest Rotax kart, the Rotax Project E20. What stuck out to me was this quote:
We had the opportunity to directly test this vehicle on the track, in Wackersdorf, and so on Vroom in June we explain how to manage and drive this Project E20 which has reserved many pleasant surprises: the almost total absence of maintenance (it’s not even necessary to replace the sprocket) or the exceptional drive thrust out of the bends. Little bad only for the rather high weight, but for the rest let’s forget many worries that we think are connected to electric traction, but also those we are used to with traditional thermal karts.Vroom June 2021
Hydrogen and Motorsport
Hydrogen in motorsport seems to have as many detractors as proponents so it is hard to figure out where and if the technology will fit into future motorsport propulsion plans but Michelin are all in as explained in Michelin betting big on hydrogen as it moves beyond tyres.
For a great overview of what is happening in the world of hydrogen and motorsport check out Daily Sportscar’s What Next For Hydrogen Fuel Cell Tech In Endurance Racing: Who, Where & When, an extensive summary of who is doing what and where.
Star Wars on water
When it comes to electric motorsport Alejandro Agag is on a roll. First it was Formula E, then Extreme E and now it is the new electric Powerboat series E1. You can watch the full presentation announcing the Seabird on their website here. I am not sure how exciting the racing will be but I have to admit that the boat looks cool.
That’s it for this edition of the Sustainable Motorsport Round-Up. If you have any sustainable motorsport news you would like included please contact me.
See you in two weeks!