In the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup this week I have some great sustainable motorsport information and insight for you. From Formula 1 updating us on the progress of their sustainability initiatives to Jim Glickenhaus’ hydrogen-powered sports cars to the new Ducati MotoE bike, there is a lot of exciting news to digest. That includes Sebastian Vettel running Nigel Mansell’s legendary FW14B at this year’s British Grand Prix using carbon-neutral fuel! Welcome to green news racers can use.
Sustainable Motorsport News
- Formula 1 continues the push to hit its Net-Zero Carbon by its 2030 target as it revealed new branding and updates on its sustainability initiatives. They have reiterated their commitment to run 100% sustainable fuel in 2026 and have updated the progress they have made in logistics both today and in their plans for the future. “In 2019 Formula 1 announced our commitment to be Net-Zero Carbon by 2030 as part of our wider Sustainability Strategy. We set ambitious targets from “factory to flag” and key members of our sporting community including our Teams, Race Promoters, Partners, Suppliers, Broadcasters, the FIA and many more are rising to the challenge and are contributing to our carbon reduction goals.”
- As this weekend is the British Grand Prix, Silverstone is highlighting the sustainability initiatives that the track has embarked on as they start Shifting to Zero. “We’re accelerating change to lead the way and place sustainability at the centre of what we do. To be part of the change as Formula 1® continues its drive to be Net-Zero Carbon by 2030.”
- The Alpha Tauri F1 team has entered into a multi-year partnership with The Buzz Group focused on accelerating sustainable development initiatives and supporting young driver development. “We believe that all businesses, including motorsports, must drive positive environmental change to ensure the longevity of the planet and the health and happiness of its inhabitants,” said Daisuke Hasegawa, chief executive of Buzz Group.
- In a recent chat with Daily Sportscar, Jim Glickenhaus discussed his plans for hydrogen-powered race cars. “We are developing our hydrogen trucks. We want to keep ICE going with hydrogen and zero admissions at first and then eventually with hydrogen fuel cells. And our goal is to be the first company that races zero emissions at Baja 1000, and a zero emission 24 hour race, most likely it will be the Nurburgring where we’re going to make a hydrogen ICE version of our 004. It will be a four cylinder version of that. And we will have swappable hydrogen tanks so we think we can do a pitstop in about a minute.”
- The Nio 333 Formula E team has announced plans to support environmental projects in both China and Kenya. “The team was awarded FIA Three Star environmental accreditation, which recognises best practices in environmental awareness and sustainability, with contributions towards the two projects part of fulfilling obligations to offset unavoidable carbon emissions.”
- With the announcement of Formula E’s Gen3 calendar, a noticeable absence is a race in Vancouver. When the 2022 race was cancelled this year before it even ran, the organizers insisted it was just postponed and would take place in 2023. But as The Race points out in how Formula E’s Vancouver E-Prix project collapsed, that is not going to happen either.
- This year’s TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa has announced a number of sustainability initiatives that they will be implementing. As part of their sustainability plan, organizers will be supporting the planting of 2050 trees in the Ouhar area in Belgium, helping sustain a heritage forest area of high biological interest.
- As part of their recently announced NEOM partnership, McLaren Racing have expanded on what they intend to achieve. “A mission to drive technological innovation to meet the needs of a growing, and currently unsustainable world. The McLaren Accelerator programme is the partnership’s effort to drive circularity and innovation in motorsport technology to be relayed into plans for NEOM’s Oxagon project. Through the partnership, the organisations will pioneer solutions to advance clean industry technology, drive innovation, build integrated supply chain solutions, develop a next-generation port, and help communities to thrive in the process.”
- Motorsport UK and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Motorsport recently presented Our Eclectic Future at British Motorsport Day in the Palace of Westminster to showcase the vision of a world powered by a range of use-appropriate systems and fuels. “David Richards CBE, Motorsport UK Chair emphasised the power of motorsport to influence consumer purchasing and therefore the role that the sport has to play in encouraging consumers towards more sustainable technologies. He noted that few industries contain so many highly-skilled engineers who are all motivated to continue innovating and pushing boundaries when it comes to creating sustainable solutions.”
- Extreme E has partnered with Enowa, the energy, water and hydrogen subsidiary of Neom, the Saudi Arabian smart city, to introduce green hydrogen power to its global sustainable racing series. “Extreme E and Enowa’s partnership is aiming to implement innovative, green hydrogen-based technologies to not only power the championship towards a 100 per cent “leave no trace” ambition, but also to showcase the opportunities around this technology.”
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
- Goodwood’s Festival of Speed was the site of the public world premiere of the Porsche GT4 ePerformance. “Porsche redesigned about 6,000 parts for the Porsche GT4 ePerformance. Under the direction of designer Grant Larsson, a team from Porsche Style came up with the car’s shape. The body is made of natural fibre composite materials, among others, with production intended to generate fewer emissions than that of comparable synthetic materials. Recycled carbon fibres are also used for testing purposes. Thanks to its flared wings, the racing car is 14 centimetres wider than a 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. This allows more room for the wider 18-inch Michelin racing tyres, of which renewable materials make up a particularly high proportion.”
- Supercars.net has a great analysis on the tech behind Porsche’s Mission R concept, the car that influenced the Porsche GT4 ePerformance publicly demoed above.
- In How Food Waste Will Propel IndyCar As Shell Switches To 100% Renewable Fuel In 2023, Forbes looks at the new 100% renewable race fuel made from food waste, including sugar cane developed by new Indycar partner Shell. “We have been working with motorsports technology for many years because, we see this as an excellent innovation platform to try new technologies, to test our products beyond their performance, specifications, test our products on their extreme operating conditions.”
- The Race looked at what we learned from Formula E’s public Gen3 debut. There were numerous teething issues because of the increased complexity of the car but no show stoppers as of yet. “The Race understands that several manufacturers have already hit issues related to the brakes, but these are believed not to be of great worry or significance at this early stage of testing.”
- Jaguar has also revealed their first run of the new car after Porsche revealed theirs a few weeks back. Team Principal James Barclay commented: “The new Gen3 car will be the world’s most efficient race car and marks a significant technological advance for the all-electric world championship. This initial shakedown marks a key milestone in the development of the all-new Jaguar I-TYPE and is an important achievement in our ongoing R&D process which originally commenced back in 2020. Excitement is really starting to build for the whole team as we look forward to the next generation of Formula E.”
- I saw something quite interesting in a recent article in Daily Sportscar on Hertz Team Jota’s plans for 2023 and beyond. Co-owner David Clarke is an historic car racer and he mentioned that he was trialing sustainable fuel. At the Le Mans Classic, Clarke will be fielding a pair of cars at the event, his Porsche 904 and a Lotus Elite with his co-driver being ACO President Pierre Fillon. “I’m running on Aramco synthetic fuel, a one-off for the moment but a bit of an opportunity to show what it can do in a very different marketplace.” It would be interesting to see if this is something that will expand in historic racing or will remain a rare one-off.
- Related to David Clarke’s historic car racing on synthetic fuel mentioned above, Sebastian Vettel will be running a few laps at this weekend’s British Grand Prix in Nigel Mansell’s original Williams FW14B. The interesting part about this demo run is not that Vettel actually owns the car, but that he will be running it on carbon-neutral fuel. For him it is a way to responsibly stay connected to motorsport’s past, or as he calls it Race Without Trace. “But I also thought we had to do it in a responsible way, so I am using carbon-neutral fuels on Sunday to demonstrate that we can still hang onto our history and heritage and culture in motorsport but do it in a more responsible way.” You can find out more about the fuel he is using at his personal website here.
- In the article Hydrogen Cars Might Be Dead Already Despite This Fuel Cell Hypercar, Forbes writer James Morris explains the hurdles facing hydrogen in road cars, despite the announcement of the Viritech’s Apricale hydrogen hypercar that I mentioned in last week’s Sustainable Motorsport Roundup. “This feels like another example of why so many call hydrogen “hopium” – it’s always going to change the world in ten years’ time, even ten years after you last said that.”
- Lucas Di Grassi has published a thought provoking piece on the weight of Formula 1 cars in Why race cars are getting heavier? “Running lighter cars means fewer parts being produced and less energy used for making those parts. A lighter car would need less fuel and it’s also much easier to ship it around the world. Even if the actual car doesn’t account for so much, it would send the right message.”
- Check out the video above of the Ducati MotoE Prototype in action at Vallelunga! Asphalt & Rubber has all the tech details of the bike.
- The Mewla Rally, organized by Epynt Motor Club, will partner with Carbon Positive Motorsport to provide carbon offsetting for all competitors and organizers event vehicles, as part of a long-term roadmap and commitment to mitigate the events carbon footprint. Event spokesperson Dan Harper commented, “Our partnership with Carbon Positive Motorsport is an important first step to show Epynt Motor Club and the Mewla Rally’s commitment to being a sustainable event. Sustainability is now a part of everyday life, so it is important we as organisers, competitors and spectators play our part in ensuring the sport we love is sustainable for future generations to enjoy.”