Synthetic Fuel Keeps Motorsport History Racing On

Synthetic fuel keeps motorsport history racing on and this week you will see how. I will also take you to the Arctic with Porsche as they test their Porsche GT4 e-Performance in -20C weather, the continued trials of Formula E’s fast charging technology and more.

It’s all in this week’s edition of the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Your source for sustainable high performance motorsport news.

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Sustainable Motorsport News

Join Roger Atkins and Imogen Bhogal in “Motorsport In The Electric Age – Episode 2” as they explore the fascinating intersection of traditional motorsport and cutting-edge electric vehicle technology. You can watch the video above.

The timeline for the ACO’s plans to run hydrogen at Le Mans are influencing Toyota’s plans to update their GR010 that they run in the World Endurance Championship.

“For sure we will start discussing with the FIA about the next regulations,” said Litjens ahead of last weekend’s Qatar 1812km opener. “They are looking at getting hydrogen introduced, so we have to start looking at that as well. If [the new rules are] not delayed too much, we would hold on to the GR010 and make the steps up [with EVO jokers] if needed. If you do a full new car and in parallel a hydrogen car, it’s too much.”

Alice Powell

Global Sustainable Sport talks to race driver Alice Powell about her journey as a race driver, her work with the Envision Racing team in Formula E, women in motorsport and sustainability.

“We need to make sure that we’re utilising our voice and really raising awareness of environmental issues,” Powell says. “I think Formula E has huge momentum at the moment. The racing is really exciting, it goes all around the world, it has fans from all over the world, and I think it’s about really making use of the network and the platform.”

Electric Racing Academy

You are Invited to a networking event that is filled with action, knowledge & business opportunities! Hosted by ERA & Dynamixx, this event is guaranteed to have exciting & fast-paced activities. The event takes place on March 20 from 18:30 onwards at Circuit Zolder, Heusden-Zolder in Belgium.

Experience the exclusive ERA electric single seaters at their home setting in a Dynamixx sim setup, learn about all the amazing projects ERA and their partners are working on.
Enjoy a great walking dinner and network with your peers.

18:30 Registration
18:45 Welcome with drinks
19:00 Walking dinner
20:00 Sim Racing, Workshop about electric Formula cars
22:00 Networking with drinks
23:00 End

Do not miss this chance to accelerate your network! Sign up here.

Synthetic Fuel Keeps Motorsport History Racing On

The FIA and Formula E are set to co-host the first ever Sustainable Innovation Series event in Tokyo on 28th March ahead of the all-electric series’ inaugural race in the Japanese capital on 30th March.

Titled ‘Transport’s Net-Zero Transition’, the inaugural forum will be co-hosted by the two motorsport organizations during Formula E’s Tokyo race week, and will welcome motorsport, sustainability, policy and business experts for discussions around low carbon transport, track-to-road innovation, smart cities, and sustainable technology development.

The event will be held at the University of Tokyo, with the support of the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF).

Natalie Robyn, CEO of the FIA, said: “Sustainability is a key priority for the FIA. Our role is transversal as being involved in both motorsport and mobility industry as an independent organization. We want to leverage that unique position with relevant stakeholders to develop and accelerate the deployment of low-carbon technologies through our championships into the automotive industry. This event will enable us to highlight cross-sectoral collaboration and push these kinds of innovations further.”

More information can be found here.

Sustainable Motorsport Tech

Synthetic Fuel Keeps Motorsport History Racing On

The promise of synthetic fuel has gained plenty of attention in the past few years, particularly after being showcased so successfully at high-profile events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Revival in 2023. So Magneto spoke to a great advocate for the technology, Vintage Bentley founder William Medcalf, to shed light on whether carbon neutrality and combustion engines can truly co-exist.

“For a vintage Bentley, it really is a silver bullet. The only negative today is the cost of synthetic fuel – it’s about three times the price of regular unleaded. The companies that manufacture it need the revenue so that they can invest and grow. What we need for that to happen is demand. If events such as the Le Mans Classic and Monaco Historique were to say that you get an advantage if you run synthetic fuel, then everyone would want to run it, and the price would come down.”

ENOWA Hydrogen

ENOWA, Extreme E’s official Green Hydrogen Partner, continued to showcase its green hydrogen offering at the Desert X Prix hosted in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (17-18 February) which was the launch of the 2024 season. Since partnering with Extreme E in 2022, ENOWA has been pivotal in steering a multi-year collaboration, advocating for sustainable solutions in the world of motorsport. This collaboration has prominently highlighted green hydrogen as a transformative energy source, amplifying its potential on a global scale. Powering the championship’s Hydrogen Fuel Cell system has demonstrated an impact through a strategic shift in energy sources and the adoption of sustainable technologies.

The East Riding Stages Rally has now offset a total of well over 100t CO2e since its inception in 2022 with partner Carbon Positive Motorsport. The 2022 event was the first in the UK to offer competitors the opportunity to offset their emissions from their fuel usage, and the offset of 51 tonnes of CO2e for the second running of the rally in 2023 formed part of the event’s continuing environmental roadmap.

Synthetic Fuel Keeps Motorsport History Racing On

Drifting an experimental 800 kW (1,088 hp) all-electric race car between the pine trees of a remote Finnish forest is not everyone’s idea of market research. But then not everyone thinks like Oliver Schwab and Björn Förster. In late December 2023, about 170 kilometre north of the Arctic Circle in Levi, Finland, these two key figures behind the Porsche GT4 e-Performance development program oversaw an unusual and unforgettable media event that would form another vital fact-finding mission for Porsche’s future vision of customer racing.

Every stop so far on the GT4 e-Performance tour has brought the team new opportunities to learn about both the car and the wider vision of electrified motorsport. In Levi, a select group of international motoring journalists was invited to explore the car’s dynamic abilities and limits of adhesion on a purpose-built ice circuit. Alongside Le Mans winner and Porsche factory driver Richard Lietz, an integral part of the GT4 e-Performance development team, the group was quickly able to harness the combination of instant torque and all-wheel drive, drifting the car at speed around the tight and technical track.

The event also gave Porsche’s technicians an opportunity to study every aspect of the GT4 e-Performance in a previously unfamiliar setting. “From a technological point of view, the unique conditions of Levi are very interesting,” says Förster. “We’re stepping into a completely new field in terms of this technology and we’re learning something on every event on the tour. In Finland, of course, it was all about the low temperatures, as low as minus 20 during the day at that time of year. But incredibly, we didn’t have any problems. Even fast charging with more than 200 kW just worked, right there on a frozen lake.”

Series News

Formula E

Formula E has been around for a decade and yet there are still people who are skeptics. If you are one of them, you might want to have a chat with Dario Franchitti.

“To me, racing’s racing, whatever the vehicle is, however it’s powered. There’s pluses and minuses to all forms,” he tells RACER. “Me, I’d watch two flies racing up the wall. There’s some people who just won’t be swayed because it’s not an internal combustion engine. I love internal combustion engines. I’m an old petrolhead and I love the sound of different cars, different engines, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy FE. The level of competition and the types of races that it puts on are bloody good.”

Testing for Formula E’s game changing fast battery charging technology is facing a rough road as recent tests have been troublesome. “Williams Advanced Engineering [WAE], the suppliers of the infrastructure have been carrying out analyses as to what occurred in Mexico City when the kit used by Envision Racing suffered a problem and resulted in it having to be isolated before investigation.”

Formula E plans to continue testing the technology in Sao Paulo and Tokyo.

Racing News365 reports that Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has expressed his intent on Formula E racing in the southeast Asian country in the near future. “There is currently a major shift towards EV cars taking place in Thailand, with 40% of the cars ordered in the country last year having been EVs. Because of the dramatic rise in EV cars in Thailand, Thavisin believes hosting Formula E is the next step.”

Green Racing News reports that Formula E CEO Jeff Dodds gave an interview in which he explained the challenges facing the electric category in the coming years.

“Off the track, we have really good momentum. Our fan base continues to grow, by another 30-40 million worldwide during the off-season, and we’ve maintained our status as the number one sport for ESG: environmental, social and governance, which is really important to the team and we feel like You’re in a good place.”

In my final bit of Formula E news this week, Formula E has agreed a deal to collaborate with all-electric off-road motorcycle series E-Xplorer. The two series will collaborate around shared learning and showcasing electric vehicle (EV) performance. The first demonstration will be at Formula E’s round in Misano, Italy. Strategic roundtables will be staged to bring together experts from each championship.

Synthetic Fuel Keeps Motorsport History Racing On

The STCC organization has unveiled a new Head 2 Head circuit which will be built in the centre of Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden, for the 2024 season opener. “We have found a perfect place for our comeback right in the epicenter of Gothenburg together with Göteborg & Co and Got Event where we will be able to offer electrified racing at the highest level in a completely new and intense format,” said Micke Bern, CEO of STCC.

The circuit will be 615 meters and will be run in a Race of Champion format which the STCC has named Head 2 Head, where two cars will race against each other in a number of different heats.

Extreme E has released their second annual Sustainability Report. This report covers achievements in sustainability during Season 2, the progress they have made towards their sustainability goals, and areas where they can continue to enhance their positive impact. This report covers Extreme E activities from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2022 and was developed with support from Ernst & Young (EY), their Official Sustainability Partner. You can read the report here.

There is concern with the mid-season rollout of the IndyCar hybrid engine being blocked by some teams due to their lack of testing with the new engine according to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Christian Lundgaard.

“If you think about it, the teams that have been running know about the balance and the performance of the car. That’s where if ultimately comes down to being unfair. I think once we get through half the season and there are conversations about it being implemented, I think there’s going to be teams, not necessarily protesting that, but I don’t think there are going to be happy teams.”

Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. As a former lawyer, he applies his legal background and research skills to assist race drivers by showcasing the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.