If you are looking for the latest news on Sustainable Motorsport, you have come to the right place! In the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup, I curate news and developments related to what is happening in sustainable motorsport today. This week’s roundup is a perfect example of news on the rapid developments in sustainable motorsport that you can expect.
I kick things off with the introduction of Porsche’s brand new 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance, itself a development of their recently released Mission R concept race car. I have the technical details plus video of a test drive of the car on the racetrack. I also look at sustainable developments in Formula E both with their Gen3 and intriguingly, Gen4 cars and what they mean for the future of the series. I respond to Nico Rosberg’s comments about electrification of F1 and why the series is not ready for that yet as well as look at recent news regarding Extreme E.
I also highlight the incredible work in sustainability being achieved by the European Truck Racing Championship and how their EQT formula could (and should) be applied to Formula 1. I have more news in my usual sustainable motorsport series and technology updates as well as a return of my Getting to the Track Sustainably feature which provides a lesson that global motorsport can use from the music group Coldplay of all people. Finally, I have news on how European racers can offset their motorsport carbon emissions.
Porsche Keeps Pushing the Sustainable Motorsport Envelope
- As I have pointed out in a previous Sustainable Motorsport Roundup, Porsche is actively involved in all sorts of sustainable motorsport technology, be that battery electric, hydrogen or synthetic fuels. And it is not just R&D as they are putting concept and test race cars on the track to better understand what is needed for motorsport. They did this with their Mission R concept and now they have done the same with their electric version of the Cayman GT4 race car, officially referred to as the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance.
- According to Sportscar365, “the all-wheel-drive electric Cayman, which uses the same chassis as the conventional GT4 model, has a maximum power output of 735 kW (985 hp) and features a drivetrain based on a permanently excited synchronous machine, or PESM, on both axles. Its performance has been likened to that of a 992-generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, with the potential for it to complete a 30-minute racing stint at a continuous 450 kW (603 hp).”
- According to Porsche, “Like the Mission R, the all-wheel-drive racer uses the chassis of the proven 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport model. The entire electric motor and battery technology also comes from the IAA conceptual study, which in qualification mode translates to a maximum output of 735 kW (1,000 PS) and more. In simulated racing, a steady 450 kW (612 PS) is available for 30 minutes, i.e. the duration of a Carrera Cup race. In terms of lap times and top speed, the 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance is on par with the performance of the current 992-generation 911 GT3 Cup.”
- “With the Mission R, we’ve shown how Porsche envisages sustainable customer motor racing in the future. The 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance now demonstrates that this vision works impressively on the racetrack,” stated Matthias Scholz, GT racing vehicle project manager. “We’re very excited about the response because a one-make cup with electric racing cars would be an important addition to our existing customer racing program.”
- “The 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance blazes a trail to Porsche customer racing with electrically powered racing cars. As a first step, we will unveil this concept to our global partners,” commented Oliver Schwab, project manager of the 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance. “With drivers, teams, organizers, authorities and other interested parties, we’re also gathering ideas for Porsche racing formats in the future.”
- Curious as to how the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance performs on the track? Road & Track took one for a test drive and were suitably impressed, calling it “a radical step for EV race cars.” “My first session was an adventure. Torque delivery is nuts. If you’ve driven any modern EV, the GT4 E-Performance’s response is that, but also way way more. There is no traction control, but it’s not really needed (except from a standstill, where it will do a four-wheel burnout). The way it puts power down at speed is immediate. Acceleration is constant and linear, to a point. The top speed is gearing limited, and it hits that limit just before the end of the long front straight.” You can watch their test drive in the video above.
- If you are interested in the performance on the track of the Mission R concept car, which is what the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance is based on, MotorTrend had Late Show’s Reggie Watts ride along in one during a test drive on the track. “Watts was impressed, saying that although he was used to that sort of torquey acceleration, the Mission R’s lightness was brand new for him. I told him that having been a passenger in quite a few caged-up race cars over the years, the braking and the handling felt like, say, a DTM car, but the instant acceleration was something new. Talk long enough to any pro driver, and you’ll learn all they really want is torque; Porsche is definitely onto something with this EV racing concept. So much so that Watts said he’d like to start driving cars on the track—and even better if those cars are electric.”
- Formula E continues to rebound as I mentioned in yesterday’s Business of Motorsport column. They are looking to expand their calendar with Spain one of the countries being considered. One of the things I was not aware about with the Gen2 cars was that their batteries limited them to how many races they could run. According to Alberto Longo, “Because of a technical limitation in the batteries, with the Gen2s we can’t do more than 16 races. With next year’s Gen3 we could go to 18 or 20 races, depending on the length of the track, and in the Gen4 this limitation will directly disappear.”
- As the series prepares for Gen3, they are looking ahead to Gen4. I included some news of what was discussed in the Gen4 discussions a few weeks back in Monaco, but Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle has revealed more to Autosport. “Reigle explained that the discussions helped to isolate some of the manufacturers’ more pressing desires for the future of the championship beyond Gen3, and has identified three areas with the most “momentum” – including opening up battery technology.” The other areas are all-wheel drive systems and custom bodywork.
- Blackbook Motorsport has an in depth look at How Formula E plans to “define a new segment of tier one sports” as it embarks on its next chapter. “Sustainability is in our DNA and, while there are always challenges within this, it’s also our biggest opportunity,” says Dabas. “We are at the crossroads of racing and reason: we race for a reason, and that reason is quite important in people’s lives. But would somebody watch a sport because it’s sustainable? Is that enough? People watch sport because it’s exciting and entertaining.”
- Green Racing News looks at the impact of Formula E on the electrification transition. “Jamie Reigle, CEO of the top electric motorsport division, emphasized the importance and power of racing in building a green mobility landscape. On the other hand, Julia Palle, FE Sustainability Director, also emphasized the contribution of this category at a technological and ecological level.”
- Sports Business Journal has a great article that looks at how Formula E is removing paradox from ‘sustainable motorsport’. “The preponderance of carbon emissions — between 70% and 75% annually — comes from freight. Pallé said logistics partner DHL has been an innovative collaborator. Together, they’ve tried to manage the schedule to permit greater use of road or sea transport, rather than the higher-impact air travel. They’ve introduced biofuels. But the reality, Pallé said, is that international sport is inherently “a traveling circus. “Every day, there’s a moment in my role where I think about freight, and I talk about freight,” she said, noting the opportunity therein. “That’s really where the championship for me is — playing its full role as a platform to test innovative and sustainable solutions.”
- I have mentioned and shown photos of Formula E driver Lucas Di Grassi’s vision of what he felt the Gen3 car should be (see photo above), but what in essence does he feel is missing? This is what he told Autosport: “One of the things that for me Formula E is missing on Gen3 is the ‘wow’ factor. The performance of the car could have been even better, but it was deliberately decided not to on a cost basis. That’s fine, but there is less of a ‘wow’ factor with Gen3 than when you see a Formula 1 car, which I don’t like. Formula E should be the car with the highest appreciation for design that motorsport has ever seen.”
- Formula 1’s Singapore Grand Prix has renewed their title sponsorship with Singapore Airlines but what caught my eye in the press release from a sustainable motorsport perspective was this: “This year’s race will see further use of renewable energy and sustainable materials, and the commitments from Singapore Airlines towards sustainable aviation fuels reflect the continued alignment between all partners and Formula One in reducing environmental impact.”
- According to Nico Rosberg, Formula 1 should should say no to biofuel and yes to electrification. “Formula 1 (F1) plans to reduce its environmental impact through biofuels. The organization is studying and working on this solution for the future. However, for the former champion of the category, Nico Rosberg, the option should be electrification, following the steps of the FIA Formula E (FE).” What he fails to take into account is that battery electric race cars do not currently have the capacity or energy density to race at F1 speeds and F1 distances. If we go with the typical 5 year cycle that Formula 1 follows, the sustainable fuel-powered hybrids that will be raced in 2026 will be replaced in 2031. What those engines will look like will be anybody’s guess. Fully battery electric? Hydrogen fuel cell or continuing on the current synthetic fuel cells path are all possibilities. The larger question is if Formula 1 even wants to be tied in with the current “road relevant” mission that they feel is the main reason why manufacturers get involved in F1. What if they opened up the propulsion technology to whatever falls under certain safety, performance and environmental standards? As long as it is clean and fast, let manufacturers and independent constructors battle it out on the race track as the ETCR is doing (see below). The next 10 years will be absolutely fascinating.
- Extreme E has extended its collaboration with EY. “EY will support Extreme E in its commitment to minimise its environmental impact and measure its carbon footprint across its events, logistics and operations, outlined in the Championship’s inaugural Sustainability Report. The report displays how Extreme E became carbon neutral in 2021, with 8,870 tCO2-e emitted during Season 1 (1,774 tCO2-e average emissions per race). Sustainability tactics and achievements are documented, whilst also outlining their strategy and focus for 2022 and beyond. EY also developed the series’ Social and Environmental Impact Assessment framework, which supports the Extreme E operations team to carefully assess impacts of the event in each race location, guiding them to help enhance the company’s capability and drive a high-quality and responsible output.”
- Extreme E has been named as the first winner of the Environmental Sustainability Award, which was presented on May 12 at the Sports Industry Awards. The recognition aims to highlight the work of organizations that provide benefits to the environment. “It is a tremendous honour to be the recipient of the first ever Environmental Sustainability Award. It gives real recognition to everyone who has helped to play a part in launching and delivering our pioneering series. We cannot wait to go even further in raising awareness of the climate crisis and how to deliver environmental change”, said Alejandro Agag.
Assorted Motorsport Series Sustainability News
- I must admit that I never quite understood big rig truck racing. It always seemed to me that it made no sense as these huge machines were not exactly svelte racing cars. During a recent Blackbook Motorsport webinar on sustainable mobility, one of the representatives of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship presented and I must say he changed my perception completely. The ETCR is acting as a true R&D hub for sustainable trucking technology. Not only are they currently using HVO bio-diesel, but they are actively promoting other sustainable technologies such as hydrogen, synthetic fuel and battery electric. As a matter of fact, they are doing what I argue Formula 1 should be doing by giving these technologies a series they can use to compete against each other. The really interesting part from a racing perspective is that they are developing something they call Equalization of Technologies. “To guarantee a fair, technology-open competition, technology-equalising measures are necessary – this requires a so called EQT (Equalisation of Technologies).” A brilliant approach in my opinion. I am going to follow this series a bit closer from now on.
- RightHub, 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), works directly in sustainable motorsport across Europe. Because of that, they have a number of excellent case studies on how various motorsport series have increased their sustainability. It is well worth the time to review them.
- Work on a new hybrid system that can be fitted to TCR cars has been underway for some time, with on-track testing already underway using an Alfa Romeo Giulietta developed by the Romeo Ferraris team. Marcello Lotti, the man behind the regulations, has revealed a new ‘HTCR’ logo that will come into use in the near future, so it looks like the hybrid era is moving closer for TCR.
- Two teams of the 12 that will be racing have been announced for the inaugural season of the FIM E-Xplorer World Cup. Green Racing News reports that Seven Racing Team and Maddwill Racing will be competing. “The first of them will be led by James Stewart, Motocross Champion, while the second by Robbie Maddison, world records holder and acrobatic jumps.”
- Fuel company Aramco answers the question as to how can lower-carbon fuels compete in the world’s toughest motor race, the Dakar Rally? “The hydrogen-fueled truck is just one demonstration of how hydrogen could have a key role to play as the world transitions to a low-carbon and more sustainable energy mix. To this end, we are also working on other pioneering technologies, such as blue hydrogen, which has the potential to address global energy needs while helping reduce CO2 emissions — all in a reliable and affordable manner.”
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
- Lamborghini’s next supercar will feature an entirely new V-12 as it develops the last non-electrified V12. “As for the new V-12, Winkelmann is holding back details but did reveal to Autoblog that nothing will be shared with the Aventador’s engine. The hybrid technology will also be new, with Winkelmann revealing that there also won’t be anything shared with the Aventador-based Sian mild-hybrid. There also won’t be any turbocharging, he said.”
- Total Karting Motorsport has an excellent tutorial on how electric race karts are charged. “The Bambino e-karts have one battery and around 2.7kW of power, while the Cadet e-karts have two batteries and about 5.5kW of power. This means we are using the batteries at 2.7kW each at maximum power. In terms of average power used this is about 2.3kW per lap, this is not the full 2.7kW since there are times when no power is needed, for example when braking.”
Getting to the Track Sustainably
- The musicians of Coldplay have been particularly conscious of their carbon footprint when they tour, so much so that they stopped touring while they could find a mores sustainable alternative. They have now partnered with sustainable energy provider Neste where they will be reducing CO2 emissions from their Music Of The Spheres World Tour by 50% compared to the band’s previous tours. Neste will provide Coldplay with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to help reduce emissions from air travel, while the company’s renewable diesel will help cut emissions from the band’s tour transport and stage power generation. “Coldplay is one of the world’s most popular touring bands, and their ambition to make their Music Of The Spheres World Tour as sustainable as possible is extremely inspiring. The world needs these kinds of changemakers to lead the way towards a more sustainable future,” said Minna Aila, senior vice president for sustainability and Corporate Affairs and member of the Neste executive committee at Neste. “We at Neste are excited and proud to join forces with Coldplay to help reduce emissions from their world tour concerts and tour-related transports with our renewable fuels.”
- If Coldplay’s work with Neste has you interested in sustainable aviation fuel, here is an excellent Introduction To Sustainable Aviation Fuels.
- Trucking plays a huge part in motorsport as all teams operate a number of big rigs to get them from race to race. Forbes looks at what the big rig manufacturers are up to on the sustainability front in Big Rigs Going Electric As Navistar, Cummins, Daimler Rev Up Next-Generation Trucks.
- In a world focused on cleaner fuels, more efficient engines and minimal tailpipe emissions, the humble diesel engine finds itself staring down the barrel of a loaded gun. But Cummins, maker of the diesel-powered motors found in everything from trucks to tractors, thinks hydrogen may hold the key to its high-torque future. They have built a 15-liter hydrogen engine that has been built on the company’s new “fuel-agnostic platform,” which features a range of engines that can run on a variety of fuel types.
- Shipping is another form of transportation used by global motorsport and that industry has also been pursuing a sustainability agenda. Here are two articles to bring you up to speed.
Every Little Bit Counts
Carbon Positive Motorsport has launched an international offsetting program for overseas events and competitors. Working in partnership with Highland Carbon, one of the UK’s leading carbon offsetting project developers and providers, Carbon Positive Motorsport will offer a range of carbon offsetting services for EU based motorsport events and competitors. “Due to UK regulations, it has not possible so far to provide offsetting for overseas generated carbon emissions, using our UK Woodland Carbon Code certified projects. This extension of our offer makes it possible to support motorsport events and competitors in countries such as Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, and the Benelux countries.‘’ More details can be found at the Carbon Positive Motorsport website.