This week’s Sustainable Motorsport Roundup is full of innovation, excitement and surprises. From electric hot rodding to sustainable race tracks to electric single-seater club racing, the heart of racing now often beats to a sustainable drum.
In addition to the developments in sustainable motorsport technology like the BMW i4 racing in the STCC next year, I bring you more sustainable motorsport developments, suggestions for sustainable travel in Every Little Bit Counts, a look at sustainable sport as a whole in The Big Picture and some really fascinating sustainable transportation developments in Getting to the Track Sustainably.
And as I quoted Tom Greenwood in last week’s column, “any progress is good progress and we need to be embracing every little drop of it that we can achieve.”
Sustainable Motorsport News
- In Hot Rodding 2.0, PRI Magazine takes a look at the growing electric hot rod scene in the United States. “We get a lot of flak from the hardcore gasoline world for being electric,” said Eddy Borysewicz of reVolt Systems, Oceanside, California, which offers electric conversion systems using refurbished Tesla motors. “But the real hot rod guys say, ‘That’s exactly what we did in the 1950s. There’s no difference with what you’re doing to what we were doing, ripping motors out of high-powered sedans and putting them in lighter cars.’ So we coined the phrase, ‘Hot Rodding 2.0,’ as our shop motto. We’re dedicated to the art of preserving hot rodding.” That dedication includes testing at the Bonneville Salt Flats, where the Team Vesco streamliner, with a twin-motor reVolt system on board, set the EV speed record in 2021 at 353.870 mph.”
- The Circuit of The Americas (COTA) has announced a series of sustainability initiatives ahead of this month’s Formula One United States Grand Prix. The initiatives include:
- The track has installed 96-gallon recycling bins throughout its grounds, while it will also offer attendees cups made from 90 per cent recycled aluminum to replace single-use plastic;
- The track will also have ten water stations dotted throughout the event;
- Electronics company Anker Innovations will also test the industry’s first bio-based charging cables, which cut down on petroleum-based plastic usage, as part of Anker’s solar-powered charging station for fans to charge their devices;
- Austin-based organization TreeFolks will plant almost 300 trees in honor of the retirement of Sebastian Vettel;
- In addition to offering a multitude of vegetarian and vegan options, COTA will donate any leftover food to the Central Texas Food Bank;
- COTA is also encouraging fans to take shuttles to and from the race to cut down on their carbon footprint.
- I had mentioned this in a previous edition of the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup but Green Air News has more details on the Mercedes F1 team’s multi-million-dollar sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) investment that is intended to reduce its aviation carbon footprint. “Mercedes F1 said aviation accounted for over a quarter of its entire projected carbon footprint, and its “multi-million-dollar” SAF investment “would significantly improve our overall environmental impact, with the industry-leading technology further assisting our journey towards net zero. SAF will become a significant component of our team’s sustainability strategy, reflecting our desire to drive the change within Formula One for more sustainable racing.”
- In Joe Saward’s Notebook from Manila, he mentions how Liberty Media intend the new Las Vegas pit and paddock facilities to be the most technologically-advanced building in the world. “What this means is not entirely clear at the moment but it is certain to include unprecedented levels of resource efficiency and intelligent features. This will be a useful promotional tool for the sport. I am told that it will not only be sustainable but will be so efficient that it will balance all emissions created during construction and even, perhaps, in the manufacturing of all materials required for the construction. It is all good for F1’s sustainability programmes, although until the sport counts the emissions produced by spectators on their way to and from the track, it is all a bit airy-fairy.”
- Former F1 Champion and current Extreme E team owner Nico Rosberg is on the cover of the latest issue of Sustainability Magazine. You can read what he has to say here.
- The FIA Motorsport Games will partner with ETS Racing Fuels as the official fuel supplier to the second edition of the unique multidisciplinary event, being staged later this month, 26-30 October in Marseille, France. “Recognised as the expert fuel development partner for the racing industry, ETS Racing Fuels will provide premium sustainable and classical fuels for the GT, GT Sprint, Touring Car, Formula 4, Rally2, and both the Cross Car Junior and Senior disciplines. ETS Racing Fuels recently launched its sustainable Renewablaze portfolio, made from up to 100 percent renewable components contributing significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the motorsport industry. The event’s environmental impact will be measured, monitored, and reduced, while the carbon emissions generated by the 2022 Games will be entirely compensated. The Games will prevent single-use plastic waste and minimise general waste through the provision of sustainable end-of-life solutions for waste generated across the event. The use of renewable energy will be prioritised, and overall energy consumption limited.”
- SRO Motorsports Group has joined forces with GreenTheUK to plant 500 new trees in Norfolk, further strengthening the effort to minimise its environmental footprint. “The project will focus on adding Douglas Fir and native English Oak to an existing woodland, marking what is hoped to be the first step towards a long-term partnership. Working with the Royal Forestry Society, the trees planted by GreenTheUK have been specially selected for their ability to survive the predicted weather conditions that will be brought about by climate change.”
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
- Exion Racing has become the first team to reveal the car with which they will compete in the new all-electric era of the STCC in 2023 (see below), opting for the BMW i4 model. “The cars will produce 550 bhp and feature an 800-volt 45 kWh battery. The cars will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in under three seconds.”
- Honda has strengthened their ties with Red Bull ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. “Honda has invested significantly in hybrid technology over the course of our partnership,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said. “This has ensured the supply of competitive power units to both teams, for which we are very grateful.”
- Road & Track argues that racetracks need to embrace the DC fast charger. “A number of tracks across the country have already started to invest in improving or installing charging options on site, but there are still comparatively few options for drivers of performance EVs.”
- The British Racing and Sports Car Club has become the first UK organizer to launch a circuit racing series for electric-powered cars, after revealing its new Formula Foundation-E single-seater category. “There’s nothing currently in the club domain that caters for people who want to race an EV – this is the first of its kind. We see this product and category as a new category that will be attractive to young drivers who are growing up with Formula E as a norm and EVs as the norm. We’re not trying to tap into a marketplace that already exists – it’s a new marketplace we’re trying to make.”
- The calendar for the first season of the new-look electric STCC has been revealed, with the previously announced event on the streets of Helsingborg kicking off a seven-event schedule. “We have a strong and intense calendar with good geographical coverage in Sweden, where we mix a brand new city race with classic tracks in a layout that is absolutely right for our electric future,” Micke Bern, CEO of STCC said.
Every Little Bit Counts
Every Little Bit Counts looks at small steps that you can take to decrease your environmental impact and increase your sustainability.
- Travel is an essential part of life for most and an important way to both relax, discover new cultures and experiences and learn more about the world around us. While travel can and often does have negative effects on the environment, local populations and ecosystems, there are ways that you can travel to minimize your impact for those days when you truly need to get away from it all. Sustainable Travel International has put together a series of videos with ideas on how and where you can travel on your next vacation. You can watch the trailer below for a taste of what to expect.
- If you are a member of the Quantas Frequent Flyer Club, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on how you travel through their Quantas Green Tier program. “As part of Qantas’ goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 – with a 25% ‘net zero’ milestone by 2030 – the airline is rewarding Frequent Flyers for making eco-friendly choices. Members who complete enough sustainable activities to unlock the new Green Tier will have their choice of three rewards, including 10,000 Qantas Points, 50 Status Credits or for Qantas to offset an additional 3 tonnes of carbon on their behalf.”
The Big Picture
In The Big Picture, I look beyond motorsport to see what other sports are doing in their sustainability journey as well as the issue of sustainability generally. Hopefully this will act as a catalyst for change in the motorsport ecosystem as it demonstrates that in many ways, all sport shares some commonalities that can be tackled with achievable, measurable sustainability practices.
- The Green Sports Blog looks at A (Mostly) Good Summer for Green-Sports and Climate More Broadly With Some Big Red Flags. “This return to the Blogosphere is a good time to review the summer just past through a Green-Sports lens. Of course, our corner of the world does not exist in a vacuum. And let’s not sugar coat it: the climate change scoreboard looks depressingly negative at least 90+ percent of the time. Still, there were some welcome and important climate wins over the summer…including in the Green-Sports corner of the world. And, since we don’t sugarcoat things here at GSB, we will also report on some troubling developments that show that the Green-Sports world has a long, long way to go.”
- LawInSport takes a first look at the German Football League’s new sustainability criteria. This article analyses the Sustainability Criteria, looking at its:
- Legal status and principal requirements for clubs;
- The extent to which it incorporates underlying legal sources; and
- Potential further developments.
- I have talked about the opportunities that Web3 technologies present to race drivers and motorsport as a whole, but I am not blind to the negative aspects of the technology. Forbes reports that Bitcoin’s environmental damage is on par with beef, natural gas and oil a recent study suggests. “The climate-related damages of each bitcoin generated—the asset is “mined” using an energy intensive computer process—in 2021 was more than $11,300, according to the researchers’ estimates, which were based on the economic costs of carbon dioxide emissions.”
Getting to the Track Sustainably
Getting to the Track Sustainably is my occasional column on developments in sustainable transportation that could have some application to motorsport. Since the majority of carbon emissions come from logistics and transportation, this topic is of utmost importance as motorsport works to make itself more sustainable. Here are some articles you may find of interest.
Sustainable Land Transportation
- The Biggest EV Surprises of 2022, So Far
- Toyota’s tech head talks future of cars: ‘We’re just at the start of our transformation’
- Grid And Charging Speed Bumps Ahead As Amazon, FedEx And Transit Fleets Go Electric
- First Drive: Mercedes-Benz’s Electric Vision EQXX Is More Aerodynamic Than a Football, and You Can Tell
- Goodyear SightLine: Tires with Smart Sensors Technology
- Scientists Develop Solar Panel to Increase Electric Car Autonomy
- Envision Group’s CEO Zhang Lei Has No Time for Greenwashing
- Americans Have Always Bought Too Much Car. Now They’re Doing It With EVs
- First Electric Seaplane in the World is Getting Closer and Closer
- ZeroAvia secures investment backing and hydrogen-electric commitment from American Airlines
- Achieving net zero aviation will cost $175bn per year until 2050 and immediate action needed this decade, says report
- Aerospace industry unveils raft of new initiatives at Farnborough Airshow to decarbonise aviation
- A UK Aviation Start-Up Just Completed Its First eVTOL Flight
- easyJet updates sustainability plans to cut carbon emissions