This week in the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup I bring to you some exciting sustainable motorsport series news from karting to cars, fascinating sustainable motorsport tech news and more. For UK drivers, teams, and championships, I also show you how you can offset your carbon emissions with a new motorsport-focused service. And keep a look out tomorrow on Earth Day (April 20) as I publish a great primer on sustainable NFTs and Blockchain for the race driver from race driver Ellis Spiezia. If you find the technology as confusing as I do, this will definitely help you understand it much better.
- The French Formula 4 championship will use biofuel supplied by Repsol this year as part of a sustainability push. As reported by Formula Scout, “with testing having been a success, an agreement has been signed with Repsol to provide 30,000 litres of biofuel for the season starting this weekend at Nogaro. It is said the switch of fuels will lead to a 70% saving in greenhouse gas emissions. Repsol has used recycled substances for its biofuel, making it recognisable as an ‘advanced sustainable fuel’ by the FIA and means it also meets the sustainability criteria established in the European Union’s current renewable energy directive.” You can read more about the Repsol biofuel initiative here.
- CUPRA Racing announced a new partnership with Mattias Ekström’s EKS team that will run the CUPRA e-Racer cars in the 2022 ETCR FIA eTouring Car World Cup. Werner Tietz, Executive Vice-President for Research and Development at CUPRA: “We are delighted to announce this exciting new partnership that will allow us to develop the CUPRA e-Racer even further. We aim for race victories and back-to-back ETCR titles, and with ETCR becoming a fully FIA sanctioned World Cup, we could not be more motivated.”
- Alan Gow explains to Professional Motorsport World that he is realistic about the challenges of running hybrids in the BTCC as the season gets underway. “We didn’t know what the headwinds would be when we set out. Cosworth started the project in the middle of 2019, then we ran into a global pandemic, then all of the supply chain issues, cost escalations – now the war in Ukraine has also stopped some other parts coming through,” he said. “It’s been a real struggle and my hats go off to everyone [the teams]who put their shoulders to the wheel to get it done. It was hard … so well done everyone.”
- Nissan has become the sole owner of the Formula E entry that it has previously run in conjunction with the French e.dams operation further solidifying its commitment to the all-electric championship for the foreseeable future. The Race looks at why Nissan have taken sole control of the team and what this means to its future.
- Nissan has also opened a prototype production facility for solid-state batteries at the automaker’s Research Center in Kanagawa Prefecture. “The pursuit of solid-state technology offers a way out, while also enabling the EV industry to grow while being less constrained by the annual volumes of lithium that are mined at the moment—a constraint that effectively caps the number of EVs are produced each year. This is one of the main reasons the race to solid-state batteries has taken on a new urgency among automakers.”
- The first season of Formula E’s Gen3 era is now set to begin a month later than the series’ initial aim in order to give teams extra preparation time with the new hardware. The Race has learned that the new plan is to start next year’s campaign at the end of January 2023 in Diriyah in Saudi Arabia, with the planned new races in Hyderabad and Cape Town potentially following during February.
- Front Office Sports reports that, as it prepares to unveil its Gen3 racecar, Formula E is angling toward the next generation of fans, media, and auto manufacturing. “The series was founded with the express purpose of showcasing what electric mobility can be,” Formula E’s CEO Jamie Reigle told Front Office Sports. “We always feel like we need to push the envelope in terms of R&D and new innovations in the car.”
- Fribourg, Switzerland-based Bcomp has raised $35 million in a Series B funding round. The Swiss maker of all things light will use the capital to further scale the team size as well as commercial footprint via increased global and domestic production facilities. Since 2010, Bcomp has raised just $38.2 million in external funding. “Bcomp started off life as a garage project in 2011 with the goal of creating a lightweight yet high performant ski. Some 11 years later, Bcomp’s materials have been employed by BMW M Motorsport in the firm’s 2019 Formula E race car, as well as The McClaren F1 team’s usage at the 2021 British Grand Prix.” I mentioned BMW’s investment in this funding round in last week’s Sustainable Motorsport Round-Up.
- Hydrogen in motorsport has an almost equal amount of supporters and detractors but you can count Mike Copeland of Arrington Performance as one of the supporters. Builder of the “Hydrogen Truck” that graced the floor at SEMA, he says hydrogen offers the classic chicken or the egg problem. There’s no demand because there’s no infrastructure, and vice versa. Regardless, he is bullish on its potential both on and off the track and he is putting his money where his mouth is.
- Speaking of hydrogen in motorsport, watch above as EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel being taken for a demo run aboard the MissionH24 hydrogen-powered prototype race car.
- In their latest Tech Diary, Total Karting Motorsports discusses how the new e-karts align with their mission. “Sustainability continues to be a key focus for the series in the traditionally wasteful market. Where it has been possible and suitable, we have refreshed, tested and reused parts to limit the waste created from our fleet change.”
- Speaking of karting, a brand new all-electric series called Kinetic Electric Karting Championship has launched in Bulgaria. The championship winner earns a test drive in the all-electric ERA Championship.
- Green Racing News reports that Giampiero Testoni, Energica’s CTO, has provided details about the brand’s farewell in MotoE, as the 2022 season will be the last one where they will serve as official supplier of the category’s motorcycles. “The weight distribution will be different where certain things will be handled differently. The inverter and power unit are the pair of parts Testoni says will be different for the upcoming two-wheeled racing campaign. “The components will provide a totally different feel throughout the bike.”
- A new short film has been produced to shine a spotlight on the relationship between the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and ABB FIA Formula E World Championship – what follows is a short summary of the story, including direct insights from some of the video’s leading interviewees. You can watch the film above.
- Throughout Season 8, DHL, and Formula E are working together to discover heroes from the race cities Formula E is racing in who are making a positive difference in their communities for their Together Green Award. You can nominate your hero here.
- For drivers racing in the UK, as well as teams and series in that country, there is now a dedicated way to offset your motorsport-related carbon emissions. Racing Carbon Neutral is a new service that offsets motorsport carbon emissions through carbon offset credits to achieve Carbon Neutral Motorsport. “By joining the push towards Carbon Neutrality through the use of our platform, our aim is to lead the way to a future of Carbon Neutral Motorsport in the UK and beyond.” You can register for free here.
- Don’t forget that the third Green Racing Virtual Summit takes place on May 5th, 2022. You can register to attend here.
The Sound of Silence
I don’t tend to write too much about EV cars for the same reason that I don’t write too much about sustainable transportation outside of the racetrack. There are just too many developments happening too often to keep up with and there is enough going on in motorsport for that to fill my weekly Sustainable Motorsport Roundup. That being said, one of the biggest gripes about electric race cars is their sound. Supporters call it “futuristic” while detractors refer to it as sounding like a vacuum cleaner. The two articles below look at two approaches to what an electric car should sound like. The fact that the sound of an EV can be sculpted opens up some intriguing possibilities.
Now before you bring it up, yes I still prefer the sound of a full-throated V10 or V12 as that is music to my ears but the reality is that electrification is part of the future of motorsport and as such we all have to deal with it. Of course, race cars powered by efuels and liquid hydrogen still make glorious noise so you will always have that which is why I say that the future of motorsport is eclectic. Anyhow, check out these two fascinating articles and have a listen to the future.