Clearly the major news in sustainable motorsport was the unveiling of Formula E’s Gen3 race car in Monte Carlo this week. While it deserves the headlines for its impressive technological capabilities, there were other significant sustainable motorsport news developments announced. Indycar has announced some substantial initiatives, the World Rally Championship and Formula 1 have also chimed in with their own sustainable developments and several tracks and karting series have all joined in on the fun. As we are seeing, sustainability is no longer becoming an option, a box ticking exercise, but an integral part of motorsport, as it should be in a world where we will all have to justify our consumption of finite resources.
- Formula E has unveiled their “fighter jet inspired” Gen3 race car in Monte Carlo ahead of the Monaco Eprix. “The key feature of the Gen3 machinery lies in its increased power capability, with a new-generation drive motor producing 350kW at the rear axle, and under regen conditions now co-exists with a front-mounted standard-supply 250kW motor, meaning that the car can produce 600kW of regenerative power.” There is no doubt that this is a significant technological leap forward for the series. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out next season. Here is a selection of some of the coverage so far.
- New Gen3 Formula E car unveiled (The Race)
- Formula E unveils ‘fighter jet inspired’ Gen3 car (Autosport)
- Why divisive Gen3 Formula E car looks the way it does (The Race)
- GEN3 EXPLAINED: Alessandra Ciliberti, FIA Formula E technical manager + Gen3 Project Lead (Formula E)
- Formula E Gen3: What is it and what is new (Autosport)
- What di Grassi thinks Formula E’s Gen3 car is lacking (The Race)
- Will lighter, greener, faster Gen3 deliver on Formula E’s many promises? (Autosport Plus)
- De Vries explains new challenge of Gen3 Formula E car (Autosport)
- Formula E has also announced a collaboration with TVR. TVR’s Chairman, Les Edgar stated: “Our collaboration with the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship and on-site activations at the Monaco and London E-Prix not only demonstrate our commitment to revolutionizing the TVR brand, but to EV, and becoming a sustainable, net-zero business. Our plans to bring TVR EV’s to market are well underway, with the first of two models to be released shortly after the release of the newest Griffith and Limited-Edition Griffith EV models in 2024″.
- Front Office Sports has an informative article on how Mercedes’ departure reshaped Formula E. “Specifically, how was Formula E to square the fact that Mercedes, along with Audi and BMW who both announced their exits in December 2020, collectively announced $100 billion in spending toward consumer EV models at the end of last year, yet didn’t see a place for themselves in an electric-focused racing series?“
- Green Racing News reports that former Formula E team Abt plans to return to Formula E for the Gen3 Era. “We want to come back and if we can, it would be for the start of Gen3. Talks are ongoing, but we have strong relationships with Formula E and some manufacturers for a possible powertrain supply, Biermaier told The Race.
- Not all the news is good for Formula E as this summer’s Formula E race event in Vancouver has been called off and postponed until 2023. “It was a decision made between the organizers and the City of Vancouver,” according to spokesperson Kirsten Mihailides. “ The timeline and parameters for the event we’re not achievable.”
Assorted Motorsport Series Sustainability News
- IndyCar has announced a number of sustainability initiatives ahead of this year’s Indy 500. The series is aiming to heavily reduce its carbon footprint for this year’s Indy 500. Amongst the initiatives, all electricity consumed at IMS during May is to be purchased via 100% renewable energy credits and the circuit is aiming to become first sports facility in the world to become a ‘Responsible Sport Certified’ venue. The complete list of initiatives is quite extensive and they are using the new ReScore App which makes reporting on sustainability easy for sports events.
- Not to be outdone, F1 has revealed its plan for major 2026 chassis rule changes and amongst all the objectives is a sustainability component. “Sustainability. Continue path towards the standardisation or simplification of strategically-selected components for cost-cutting purposes. Expand the usage of sustainable materials or technologies and focus on recyclability.”
- Green Racing News reports that Extreme E and Count Us In will continue working together in 2022. “The union between the two parties aims to make fans of the series part of the change by adopting sustainable habits and making small changes that represent big results. Eating plant-based foods, using bicycles, stopping the use of plastic bags and reducing energy consumption at home are part of the actions that look simple to do, but behind them hide a great reward.”
- The FIA World Rally Championship have stated that they are fully committed to a sustainable future. “Following the sport’s ‘Rally with Purpose’ strategy, all the top cars starting the Croatia Rally (21 – 24 April) are powered by highly efficient hybrid technology, while all competitors entered in the WRC use fossil-free fuel. Additionally, the Zagreb-based rally has implemented a research programme to create a comprehensive sustainability report and define strategies to reduce the environmental impact of future editions.”
- Cupra is transitioning to an electric strategy for road cars and is set to follow in racing, with the Cupra Leon Competición “probably” the last internal combustion engine race car from the Spanish manufacturer. “It’s difficult to give a definitive answer, but it’s probable,” technical director Xavi Serra told TouringCarTimes. “We are in this transition to electrification; the brand is also transitioning with street cars.”
- In ‘This is the F1 car of rallycross’ – how Nitro RX plans to conquer motor sport, Motorsport Magazine looks at Nitro RX and its plans for 2022. “This FCX-1 is the spec machinery required for the burgeoning Nitro RX championship, described by many as “rallycross on steroids”. Now in its second year, the series was an all-American affair last season, but now it’s going global with a world series – and will start on June 18 at one of rallycross’s spiritual homes, Lydden Hill.”
I don’t cover karting very often but here is some information on two electric karting series you may find of interest.
- Oro Station Motor Circuit has been awarded Environmental Accreditation by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). The FIA Environmental Accreditation Program is aimed at helping motorsport and mobility stakeholders worldwide to measure and enhance their environmental performance.
- Fresh off the Grand Prix last weekend, the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari has obtained the Three-Star level in the FIA Environmental Accreditation Framework.
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
- Swiss sustainable lightweighting company, Bcomp, is now supplying its high-performance natural fibre technologies to HWA AG – development partner of Mercedes-AMG – for the new front bumpers on Mercedes-AMG GT4 race cars. Set to be phased in over the coming weeks, Bcomp’s bodywork solutions will provide a sustainable alternative to the GT4’s existing carbon fibre panels, offering equivalent mechanical performance in stiffness and weight and improving safety.
- Green Racing News reports on some interesting battery tech as Evonik and Vestaro have developed pure performance batteries with aluminum and glass fiber. “The new generation of batteries has been called “pure performance”, based on Sheet Moulding Compound (SMC) technology manufactured with Evonik’s curing agents. This new concept offers, according to its creators, cost-effective, safer and lighter solutions compared to those using heavier weight materials.”
- Dr Stephen Lambert will be speaking at the High Performance Powertrains 2022 seminar organised by Institution of Mechanical Engineers at Silverstone Wing on 10 May 2022. This year’s seminar will feature the latest developments in technologies for both high performance vehicles and #motorsport, covering the range of powertrain systems including internal combustion engines with #sustainable fuels, #hydrogen, electric and fuel cell applications. Read more and register: https://events.imeche.org/ViewEvent?e=7496
The Big Picture
- Recently, electric racer Ellis Spiezia wrote an informative article on sustainable blockchain. In the video above, he expands on decarbonizing motorsport.
- Carbon Positive Motorsport is a UK-based initiative which provides carbon offsets for motorsport. “We provide events, competitors and spectators with a range of carbon offsetting services. We help anyone in motorsport to make a sustainable and promotable positive environmental impact.”
- The FIA European Bureau has unveiled position papers on Euro 7 and Roadworthiness. What is significant to me is the following statement: “Since a fast reduction of pollutants in moderate steps is the most efficient way to clean the European Union’s fleet, both pieces of legislation should adopt a technology-neutral approach: all propulsion technologies (including electric battery vehicles, petrol, and diesel engines) should be tested against cost-efficient performance criteria, and none of them should be pushed to the side-lines in the market.”
- While this does not relate directly to motorsport, The Drive has published a thought provoking article on the state of the EV battery. The Life of an EV Battery From Cradle to Grave — and Why Recycling Is Still so Hard, goes into considerable details on the current obstacles as well as hope for the future. “Like fossil fuels, the key ingredients going into today’s batteries are also finite resources. It’s obvious that developing ways to scavenge whatever can be reused from old batteries to build new ones will be critical in the years ahead, though doing so will require a level of cross-industry standardization we’ve yet to see on this front, and not all experts believe that’s even in the cards. So today, we’re taking a look at the life of an electric car battery from cradle to grave in 2022, from material sourcing to manufacturing to end-of-life recycling (or lack thereof), and what the current state of things means for what’s next.”
Getting to the Track Sustainably
- For years in the week leading up to the Canadian Grand Prix, the teams used to organize a boat race in the Olympic basin that runs just behind the pit complex using packing crates, oil barrels and assorted flotsam to compete against each other. Now just imagine if they could race “Chase Zero,” the hydrogen-powered, high-speed foiling cat that’s transforming the America’s Cup.