Once again, motorsport is increasingly responding to the sustainability challenge with news since my last Sustainable Motorsport Round-Up from MotoGP, Formula E, FIM E-Xplorer World Cup and more.
- Formula E is working towards a major change with their upcoming Gen 3 car ready to take the track in 2022-23 but until then, they need to shore up their marketability and popularity since it doesn’t matter how sustainable you are if nobody is watching. Formula E, like all racing series needs to be sustainable environmentally but also financially. Series CEO Jamie Reigle discusses their approach in Formula E looking to upscale but media rights monetisation still not a priority.
- Meanwhile, in the recently concluded COP26 conference, Formula E announced their ‘Clean Growth’ Program.
- Finally, for an insight into what it is like engineering a Formula E team, Professional Motorsport World interviewed Mahindra Racing technical director Lewis Butler for his thoughts and experiences. Not surprisingly, software is key!
- As Extreme E gets ready for the final race of their inaugural season, series founder Alejandro Agag offered an assessment of its debut.
- And while the 2021 season comes to a close, new 2022 team McLaren Racing takes their first step towards a sustainable strategy at COP26.
- McLaren Racing are not only flying the sustainability flag in Extreme E but in all their racing activities as they have signed the UN Sports for Climate Action Commitment and the Race to Zero pledge.
Motorcycles & Scooters
- Joining a number of racing series already, MotoGP has announced that they will be using fully sustainable fuel from 2027.
- And as MotoGP moves to synthetic fuel, it’s electric counterpart MotoE recently announced that Ducatti will be supplying the new electric bikes in 2022. Despite the change, Enel X and Energica were key players in the progress of MotoE in 2021.
- The FIM E-Xplorer World Cup is a new series set to debut in 2022 and series CEO Valentin Guyonnet discusses what we can expect.
- Curious about what a hydrogen powered electric motorcycle looks like? A little bit like one of those lightcycles from Tron according to these images of the Apex H2.
- It wasn’t just Formula E and Extreme E that were representing motorsport at COP26 as the eSkootr Championship was there as well.
Sports Cars, Touring Cars & More
- I have mentioned in previous Sustainable Motorsport Round-Ups the Porsche Mission R electric concept GT racer with a lot of cool photos and details on the car but that is all they were. Well CNET reporter Tim Stevens took one on a test drive and, while Porsche limited the power output purposely for safety reasons, Stevens calls the prototype “Tomorrow’s GT racer, today.”
- Related to the Mission R prototype are Porsche’s plans for a future one make electric GT series. Head of Porsche Motorsport Thomas Laudenbach said there’s a “clear goal” to produce a single-make race series with a Porsche electric vehicle, something the Mission R concept will help them realize. It is also interesting to read his thoughts about the forthcoming FIA Electric GT Championship, a series he states “so far it’s not where it should be for us really to make a step.”
- Manufacturer and Pure ETCR champions Cupra in Autosport have expanded on why they chose electric motorsport. They feel it is a “perfect match” for their brand.
- In a nod to the past with an eye to the future, a new all-electric Lancia Delta is set to contest World RX in 2022.
- Finally, combining future sustainable motorsport technologies with sim racing, Le Mans winner and DTM champion Mike Rockenfeller sat down with Overtake to talk about the virtual series he organized, World eX, a series that aims to showcase itself as a platform to virtually develop zero emission vehicles and technology.
Green Racing Tech
Sustainable motorsport technology continues to evolve and develop and there were some notable developments since the last Round-Up.
- Just Auto features sustainable materials company B Comp in racing to find a sustainable alternative to carbon fibre while materials technology company Johnson Matthey withdraws from battery materials market and ups their hydrogen involvement.
- Why use motorsport to develop sustainable technologies? Read Japanese manufacturers to advance sustainable fuels and hydrogen through racing to see what the Japanese hope to gain.
- I have mentioned the developments of sustainable fuel multiple times in the Round-Up and indeed in this edition as well as MotoGP pursues that route but there are numerous approaches to developing a sustainable synthetic fuel without the use of oil. Dimensional Energy has an interesting approach as they plan to use artificial photosynthesis to turn CO2 into sustainable fuel. As a finalist in the $20 million Carbon X Prize competition, the startup is in the early stages of showing how recycling CO2 into sustainable fuels could significantly reduce global emissions while also creating a massively profitable industry.
- UK-based electric and hybrid powertrain specialist Hypermotive have launched a European subsidiary called Hypermotive GmbH. The new company will bring Hypermotive’s e-mobility products and integration engineering to EU and Scandinavian customers.
The Big Picture
The Big Picture takes a more macro view of sustainability issues both in motorsport and sport as a whole. It looks beyond the silos that we sometimes confine ourselves to as it allows stakeholders to see how sustainability is dealt with in sports individually and as an industry.
- One of the biggest issues in sustainability is not always the venue or what powers the car but how the teams and fans get to the venues. This is not exclusive to motorsport as Jamie Gardner discusses in the context of football (soccer) in Sport needs to think sustainably about its future calendar plans.
- Sam Carp asks the question and provides some answers in How can sports marketing become more sustainable?
- I have mentioned it before but if you have not checked it out yet you should visit the Sustainable Motorsport Index. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
Getting to the Track Sustainably
Getting to the track sustainably is an occasional section featuring developments in the wider sustainable transportation sector as a way to provoke discussion and awareness of sustainable air, sea and land transportation options which could be employed in the motorsport context.
- TotalEnergies and Daimler Truck AG have partnered to develop a hydrogen ecosystem for transportation in Europe.
- The TR Group has ordered 20 hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) electric trucks from Hyzon Motors. The 20 HFC trucks will remove approximately 5,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere every year and will be made available to customers by way of a Fully Maintained Operating Lease (FMOL), including fuel.
- Finally, Embraer has unveiled 4 new alternative-fuel aircraft concepts with low-to-zero emissions. The mix would make it about 50 percent more efficient than combustion alone, and it would cut 50 percent of carbon emissions—90 percent if running on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)—and offer a 500-mile range. Embraer estimates it could launch by 2030.
That is it for this edition of the Sustainable Motorsport Round-Up. Stay safe and I will see you at the track!