They say the only thing constant is change and none more so than in sustainable motorsport developments.
In this week’s Sustainable Motorsport Roundup I bring you sustainable motorsport developments in series from across the globe, how you can participate in an all-electric rally from London to Paris, sustainable motorsport tech developments, sustainable logistics in Formula E and more.
All this plus a source of climate optimism, sustainable luggage, and a test drive of a Porsche Taycan GTS in this week’s Sustainable Motorsport Roundup.
Sustainable Motorsport News
In F1, Nascar and more: How are the top motorsport series tracking against their sustainability goals?, BlackBook Motorsport looks at the progress and challenges in making motorsport more sustainable. “Indeed, most series are now incorporating sustainability into their messaging, but how does this line up with the progress they are making towards their environmental goals? The BlackBook provides an overview of where the major motorsport series stand and whether their sustainable commitments are being matched by their actions.”
Speaking of BlackBook Motorsport, they have recently announced their Electric Energies Commission. “The Electric Energies Commission is BlackBook Motorsport’s advisory group in the increasingly important arena of electric motorsport. We have brought together senior figures representing the major players who will be involved in live and virtual meetings, as well as exclusive content specific to this fast-paced world.”
“The Electric Energies Commission is our senior working group focused on the growth of electric racing,” explains Peter Jones, executive director of BlackBook Motorsport. “Through discussion and editorial insight, this influential board will help shape an electric racing future.”
The London to Brighton electric vehicle rally is back and in July 2023 it continues to Paris, to become the first official large scale international electric vehicle rally. “Our aim with the EV rally has always been to celebrate the rapid development of electric vehicles and renewable energy, so we’re pleased to be able to partner with EDF again this year, who are making huge strides in renewables as Britain’s biggest generator of zero carbon electricity. We want to simply bring a focus to the excellent work that they do. For the 2023 event it is imperative that we highlight the possibilities of driving EV’s.” Click here to enter.
Carbon Positive Motorsport now offsets carbon emissions created when you dispose of your old race/rally tires. “We can offset the carbon emissions created when you dispose of your old tyres. By buying Carbon Positive you make a positive difference to the environment, with the future offsetting of 125% of your estimated emissions from fuel usage.” For more information on Carbon Positive Motorsport, check out my interview with founder Paul Glass here.
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
The wildly creative engineers at Honda Performance Development put the final touches on the most outrageous CR-V conceivable. The CR-V Hybrid Racer project will roll with about 800 hp and a host of ultra-performance hardware. Stay tuned for the full reveal on Feb. 28.
Lucid Group has shared an interestingly timed press release. The American automaker has unveiled a new electric drive unit designed specifically for motorsports, including the “world’s leading single-seater electric racing series.” One look at the photo above is a clear indication this drive unit is for Formula E, but better still, Lucid shared that the technology is already present in all of the Gen3 EVs competing in the ninth season of the championship series that began two weeks ago.
NXT Gen Cup is proceeding according to plan with production of 20 brand new LRT NXT1 race cars, based on the electric MINI Cooper SE road car. The cars will be completed ahead of the upcoming 2023 season when NXT Gen Cup becomes the world’s first 100% electric junior touring car cup. “We received 20 new body shells in October last year from the MINI plant in Oxford UK and we are working at full capacity to turn these into the LRT NXT1 race cars,” said Fredrik Lestrup, co-founder of NXT Gen Cup.
Bridgestone Americas, the parent company of Firestone, has announced that it will utilize its new plant-based guayule tire at all of IndyCar’s street races this season following a successful test last year. Branded with a green sidewall stripe rather than red (see photo at the top of this column), the new Firestone Firehawk tire compound was developed as renewable alternative to the company’s standard tire compound. “We are driving sustainability in every area of our business, and we’re thrilled to be advancing guayule and other sustainable practices in America’s premier open-wheel racing series,” said Paolo Ferrari, CEO of Bridgestone Americas. “Firestone has a tremendous legacy of innovation and performance in racing, which we will continue to build upon as we move into this new era of cleaner, safer and more sustainable mobility on and off the track.”
After a promising debut in pre-season testing for Formula 3’s new sustainable fuel mixture, Feeder Series looks at what impact it could have on this year’s championship. The new fuel mixture, which is 55% sustainable, will include bio-sourced ingredients, such as materials generated from captured and stored carbon dioxide or non-food biologically grown material. This will substantially reduce the championship’s carbon footprint. The mixture will be used until the end of 2024, when the FIA will introduce more synthetic components to further improve sustainability. “However, the new mixture’s debut was smooth and promising. Drivers clocked in lap after lap without noticing any issues, as they felt little to no difference compared to the fuel used in previous seasons.”
In Formula E news, the series has strengthened its ties with DHL in order to boost its sustainable logistics. “DHL’s partnerships provide state-of-the-art sustainable logistics, incorporating customized multimodal transport, including both land and sea transport, maximizing efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. Using biofuels for all land and sea transport, DHL will travel the planned 89,100 kilometers this season, moving approximately 415 tons of valuable cargo per run, including cars, batteries, cargo units, transmission equipment, and marketing and hospitality equipment.”
As Formula E embarks on a bold new Gen3 era racing in some brand new countries while positioning itself as motorsport of the future, The Race explains why Formula E’s driver roster could change like never before. “Formula E will face a talent drain shortly, particularly within its experienced top-earning drivers, and it could see an influx of fresh, bargain-priced drivers.”
Finally, GQ India looks at a day in the action-packed life of Formula E racers. Great mainstream coverage in India.
F1 president Stefano Domenicali told Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore that “F1 will never go electric,” despite taking steps toward sustainability in the coming years reports Front Office Sports. “Starting in 2026, F1 will require fully sustainable fuels and will nearly triple the amount of electric power its vehicles produce, but Domenicali has criticized European officials for their aggressive pursuit of an energy transition.”
Manufacturers adapting their engines to carbon-neutral fuel could be the “key factor” in this year’s Super GT title race, believes reigning champion Bertrand Baguette. “The Japanese series announced last year plans to switch to a second-generation biomass fuel supplied by German firm Haltermann Carless for the 2023 campaign as part of a drive to reduce carbon emissions. Teams sampled the fuel in a post-season test at Motegi after the final round of the season last year, but difficulties in supply mean most manufacturer testing over the winter has been conducted with regular gasoline.”
In the announcement that there will be 42 cars on the 2023 Le Mans Cup entry list, there will be an interesting sustainability aspect of this year’s grid. “In addition to the 42 cars named in the two aforementioned classes the H24 hydrogen-powered LMP3-based prototype is set to join the field for a select number of races during the season as an ‘innovative car’ in its own class, with Norman Nato and Stephane Richelmi named as the H24 Racing team’s pair of drivers.”
Toyota Racing Development president David Wilson says work towards reducing carbon emissions in the NASCAR Cup Series through efforts to introduce electrification continues to be a work in progress. “What I’ll say is all of us sitting up here have been working very closely with NASCAR on new technologies, on a focus towards reduction of carbon, but it continues to be a work in progress.”
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.
- Drivers have to travel and travel means luggage. I have mentioned various brands of sustainable luggage in past Sustainable Motorsport Roundups and here is another. “In 2021, HORIZN STUDIOS was looking to really revolutionize luggage design. Despite the challenges of the global pandemic, the company intended to create the world’s most sustainable luxury luggage. Embracing a philosophy of lightweight, high-performance, and sustainable materials, HORIZN STUDIOS sought out a partner that would be able to simultaneously fulfill these demanding criteria.”
- It can get a bit depressing processing the reality of climate change where it seems the news is always negative or often argumentative. If you are looking for a bit more positivity, check out The Climate Optimist. Founder Anne Therese Gennari: “It’s time we change the narrative on climate change so that we can act from courage and excitement, not fear.”
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.
Founding Partner of Extreme E, Continental Tires, has opened a cutting-edge and sustainably built basketball court in the Linden-Süd district of Hanover, Germany. This is no ordinary court – the innovative new build has been constructed using 200 recycled racing tires from the first season of the Extreme E electric racing series, which Continental supports as a main sponsor.
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 most 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.
In the episode of The Driver’s Seat above, Henry Catchpole drives not one but two Porsches with a GTS badge on the back… and one will surprise you. He compares a Taycan GTS with an ICE-powered Porsche 911 and gives a balanced review of the differences, and similarities of both cars. (Hint: electric can be fun!)