This week’s Sustainable Motorsport Roundup is full of interesting developments and news. McLaren and Mahindra are working on their Formula E plans for the future, F1 is working on regionalising their calendar, video of an awesome electric land speed record, electric ice racing and much more. My semi-regular Getting to the Track Sustainably segment is back, and I give another example of a driver making a difference in Every Little Bit Counts. Enjoy!
Sustainable Motorsport News
- Mahindra has confirmed they are in talks with Abt for a Formula E powertrain supply and that this is just one of the conversations they are having. Mahindra FE chief Dilbagh Gill has now revealed that he is in discussion with a number of teams for season nine, and remains optimistic about Mahindra’s chances of securing a powertrain customer for the first time in the series. “Mahindra is talking to more than one organisation at this point of time for a customer team and I would say we are relatively confident that we will have a customer team in Gen3,” Gill told Autosport ahead of this Saturday’s inaugural Jakarta E-Prix.
- Mclaren Racing is expanding rapidly and after joining the Extreme E grid this year, they announced recently that they would be entering Formula E in 2023. The Race explains how the Mercedes takeover is just the start for McLaren in Formula E. “Once McLaren is established in Formula E, then perhaps a more comprehensive approach will stretch out in relation to McLaren either white-labelling the hardware or partnering with a new manufacturer for the Gen4 period from 2026 onwards.”
- Hazel Southwell at RaceFans takes a deep dive look at why regionalising F1’s calendar is a worthwhile step towards cutting its emissions. “Recently F1 has indicated its will take steps to reorganise its races on future calendars to minimise its long-distance travel. This has the potential to drastically cut its emissions as well as costs. As a case in point, only two of F1’s four races in North America run back-to-back this year. After next week’s race in Baku, the series will travel 9,000 kilometres to Montreal, then return to Europe.”
- Green Racing News has a great interview with Erick Ritter and Team Vesco Racing as they worked to break the World Speed Record in Electric Vehicles. “Both worked together to win the World Speed Record aboard an electric vehicle after reaching 568 kilometers per hour (353 mph), demonstrating all the power that can be extracted from a car powered by electricity.” Check out the video above to see them do it!
- Head of Audi Sport customer racing Chris Reinke has denied rumors that the German manufacturer’s GT racing division could be wound up, although he admits that its activities may be realigned as Audi’s automotive arm increasingly focuses on electric mobility. With Audi increasingly focusing on electric mobility, that potentially opens the door for Audi Sport to compete in the planned FIA Electric GT Championship. Speaking to Sportscar 365, Reinke said, “Eventually, for sure,” Reinke said when asked if Audi could enter the series. The question is the pace [of electrification]. Eventually we will all have to think of that, but we have to see the pace. You have to go with the demand of the market with the possibility to position a product and at the same time match your OEM strategy.”
- Tim Cahill’s XE Sports Group is set to join Extreme E from 2023 it was recently announced. “Since its inception, Extreme E has demonstrated to be a major drawcard for both extreme racing and climate awareness plus diversity, which aligns perfectly with the XE Sports Group’s focus of raising awareness of global climate and social challenges with the ability to make a real impact at the ground, local level,” said Luke Todd, director of the XE Sports Group.
- Racer reports that plans are in motion for the NTT IndyCar Series to make its long-awaited track testing debut with its full hybrid engine package that will debut in competition in 2024. “We still plan to be on track in June,” IndyCar’s managing director of engines Darren Sansum told RACER. “We have stuff on the dyno now.”
- The Asian Le Mans Series will keep its condensed, UAE-based schedule for a third season in 2023, with two races each in Dubai and Abu Dhabi on consecutive February weekends. The championship first adopted this short, four-race format when the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic made racing in southeast Asia difficult. A new initiative for the 2023 season will be the introduction of the TotalEnergies Excellium Racing 100 renewable fuel that has already been introduced into the ACO-run FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series this year.
- Green Racing News explains how the e-Trophée Andros will work for this year. “e-Trophée Andros takes place in France on the nation’s freezing ice. While the category was born in 1990, in 2019, it was electrified to give continuity to the division in a green way. Eight two-wheel drive vehicles made up the initial peloton, being developed by Exagon Engineering.”
- Formula Scout talked to FIA Single-Seater Commission president Gian Carlo Minardi and asked, what’s in Minardi’s inbox as he takes over FIA single-seater role? One of the topics discussed was the issue of sustainability in the junior development series. “On the sustainability front, junior single-seaters is making its own advances as much as F1 is. The world championship has introduced a 10% biofuel requirement with fuel this year, and Minardi sees F1’s next major technological overhaul in 2026 as the point where it “will be only ecological”. He is convinced that junior series will go in the same direction, as “if F1 does one thing we in the pyramid have to follow”, and notes that F2 will be ready to run with 50% biofuels “within a year”. French F4 switched to biofuel this year, F2 and F3 will be the next to change, and by 2026 all junior categories overseen by the FIA could be running with 100% biofuels.”
- Toyota World Rally Championship boss Jari-Matti Latvala believes hydrogen could be a sustainable power option for rallying to consider in the future. “I think in rallying, now we are in the hybrid mode, but in 10 years time we will need to find another solution. Hybrid is for this era but I think we need something new and I think hydrogen could be an option in the rally world because in rallying we can’t go full electric, it is impossible.”
- Interestingly, Latvala is set to experience a hydrogen-powered race car for the first time this weekend, when he tackles the Fuji 24 Hours behind the wheel of GR Corolla H2 Concept. The Toyota GR Yaris H2 uses hydrogen as a fuel to feed its 1.6-liter, turbocharged I3. This powertrain is also used in Toyota’s Corolla Sport race car.
- Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Nissan Motorsports & Customizing Co., Ltd. (NMC) unveiled the Nissan Z Racing Concept race cars 230 and 244. The vehicles, based on the all-new Nissan Z sports car, will enter the “ENEOS Super Taikyu Series 2022 Powered by Hankook Round 2 NAPAC Fuji SUPER TEC 24 Hours Race” to be held at Fuji Speedway on June 4 and 5. Car 230, entered by the NISMO team, is equipped with a carbon-neutral-fuel (CNF) compatible engine. Takao Katagiri, head of Nissan’s Motorsports Business Unit Office and president of NMC, added, “We are entering this 24-hour endurance race with two vehicles, one fueled by CNF, because the tougher the race, the more we learn. We expect to acquire ample data and know-how for future vehicle development, and at the same time we aim to show fans the unique driving performance of the all-new Z that we hope will exceed their expectations.”
- RIGHT HUB is an initiative designed to promote environmental, social, ethical and economic sustainability in business processes and to support the growth of the Social Economy in Italy (social cooperatives and social enterprises). They do extensive work in motorsport and the video above gives a good summary of what they are about, what they are doing and why.
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
- McLaren Applied has been awarded FIA Three-Star Environmental Accreditation. The FIA Environmental Accreditation Programme is aimed at helping motorsport and mobility stakeholders worldwide to measure and enhance their environmental performance. By introducing clear and consistent environmental management into motorsport and mobility, it provides stakeholders with a three-level framework against which to accredit their activities. “McLaren Applied was born out of traditional motorsports, but we’re fully committed to a sustainability mindset. We’re proud to have so many leaders in our team that are working together to achieve our sustainability targets, and we’re pleased to see that the FIA recognises their efforts.” – Samir Maha, Business Director, McLaren Applied.
- While not directly motorsport-related, the tech is fascinating and certainly would have motorsport applications. A Tesla researcher has demonstrated a 100-year, 4-million-mile battery. According to Forbes, “Tesla enthusiasts are likely to have heard of Jeff Dahn already. He’s a professor at Dalhousie University and has been a research partner with Tesla since 2016. His focus has been to increase the energy density and lifetime of lithium-ion batteries, as well as reducing their cost. Dahn appears to have hit the motherload along with colleagues on his research team. In a paper published in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society, the group claims to have created a battery design that could last 100 years under the right conditions.”
Every Little Bit Counts
- Max Coates has joined Carbon Positive Motorsport as a brand ambassador and will compete with all his competitive carbon emissions offset, as part of a long-term partnership that will extend into his planned entry into the British Touring Car Championship in 2023.
Getting to the Track Sustainably
Getting to the Track Sustainably is an occasional feature on the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup which looks at developments in sustainable transportation that could have an application to the logistics used in global motorsport. It is not an exhaustive list of developments or possible solutions but more a taste of what kind of work is going on that could make getting to the track more sustainable.
- Neste is piloting a new Neste Marine™ 0.1 Co-processed marine fuel in Scandinavia with its partner Nordic Marine Oil. This is a solution helping the maritime sector to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The ISCC PLUS certified marine fuel enables up to 80% GHG emission reduction over the lifecycle compared to fossil fuels without compromising the product quality and performance. Accounting for 90% of world trade and 13% of global transport emissions, the shipping industry needs solutions to reduce its carbon footprint in a viable way in line with the targets of the International Maritime Organization.
- Global transport and logistics company Kuehne+Nagel has agreed to buy 8 million litres of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The delivery will be over the course of the year and will remove approximately 18,300 tonnes of CO2 – equivalent of 350 British Airways flights between London and New York. The SAF, manufactured from sustainable waste feedstocks, will be sourced from Phillips 66 Limited’s Humber Refinery in Lincolnshire, England – the first to produce SAF at scale in the UK.
- Air France has halved the CO2 emissions of two flights as part of a recent test program. In April Air France launched “Air France ACT“, a program that “aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% per passenger-km by 2030 compared to 2019 (i.e. 12% less total emissions). To demonstrate how this objective can be achieved, the airline simultaneously implemented a series of actions on two of its flights leaving from Paris-Charles de Gaulle.” This project is part of the “Skyteam Sustainable Flight Challenge”, an initiative aimed at stimulating and encouraging innovation by inviting the alliance’s member airlines to operate the most eco-responsible flights possible from 1 to 14 May 2022.
- This new 8-Seat Bye Aerospace’s eFlyer 800 electric airplane will reportedly cost 80% less to fly than conventional aircraft. The plane is a clean-sheet design that will carry eight people, including one or two pilots. The 800 will have two motors, powered by a grid of electric cells across the airframe. The eFlyer 800 is expected to have a range of up to 575 miles, with 45 minutes of reserve battery charge for its motors, and an operational ceiling of 35,000 feet. The plane is projected to have a speedy ascent of up to 3,400 feet per minute, cruise at 322 mph, and reach 368 mph. Bye said that puts it among the top five fastest twin-engine turboprops. More importantly, it will be flown at only one fifth the cost of a comparable aircraft running on fossil fuel, with little noise and zero CO2 emissions.