This week you will find out why Toyota and Extreme E are putting their motorsport bets on hydrogen as a future propulsion technology.
I also have an update on Silverstone’s sustainability plans, sustainability in motorcycle racing, electric rallycross cars 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.
Sustainable Motorsport News
Episode 3 of Martyn Blunt’s podcast sustainability podcast looks at sustainability and the Silverstone Circuit.
“We head to the home of the Formula 1 British Grand Prix for episode 3 of our sustainability podcast series. As Silverstone’s Head of Business Sustainability & Partnerships, Stephane Bazire talks to us about the home of British motorsport’s Shift to Zero strategy as they work to embed sustainability into every aspect of the supply chain and the business’ diversification beyond motorsport. We cover the importance of executive team buy-in and some examples of quick wins that have helped to ensure stakeholder commitment.”
You can listen here.
Following the conclusion of the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) Endurance World Championship (EWC) in September, optimizing the event’s sustainability is set to become a primary focus for organizers going forward according to Global Sustainable Sport.
“At the FIM EWC Sustainability Forum, we witnessed a powerful convergence of minds and a shared commitment to steering motorsport towards a more sustainable future.” Gautier de Stoppani, EWC’s CSR Director
Launched in 2021 by MotorSport New Zealand, the Sustainability Fund aims to offset carbon emissions produced by motor sport competitors. Today, it continues to shape the motor sport landscape, emphasizing a commitment to a more eco-friendly future. The Fund also makes a significant impact on vital environmental projects, such as the Hereweka Harbour Cone Trust’s native bush regeneration efforts on the Otago Peninsula.
Part of the sustainability of SRO Motorsports is in providing fans with sustainable merchandise. On their website they interview Ellen Tunstall, Operations and Creative Lead at Neon Street who is responsible for the initiative.
“Since 2019 when we started working with SRO’s Intelligent Money British GT Championship, we have been striving towards improvement with reducing our supply chain miles by sourcing from regional suppliers and manufacturers where we can. We are maximizing the percentage of recycled plastic content and recycled polyester in our merchandise, for example in RPET jackets, tech bags and lanyards. Anything that we can’t manufacture from recycled plastic or polyester, we are making sure it is made of 100% certified organic cotton, with high quality and long lasting, and at a fair price for our customers.”
This month my column Getting to the Track Sustainably has some articles that you may find of interest including the debut of the Porsche Charging Lounge, Amazon’s sustainable shipping initiative and a zero emissions airship that is designed to fly “forever”.
If you were curious about Sebastian Vettel’s bee initiative that he introduced at the Japanese Grand Prix, check out Is It Fast’s article What is Buzzin’ Corner and Why You Should Care About It for the details.
“Sebastian Vettel’s Buzzin’ Corner project is a visionary environmental campaign with a clear goal: to raise awareness about biodiversity and conservation. The project revolves around the iconic Suzuka Circuit, a track that holds a special place in Vettel’s heart. Ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka has repainted the kerbs at Turn 2, also known as the driver’s favorite corner of the track, in vibrant yellow and black. This transformation serves as a visible symbol of solidarity, showcasing the circuit’s full endorsement of Vettel’s plan to protect and support bee populations.”
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
Autosport Plus does a deep dive inside Toyota’s alternative path to the future of motorsport with hydrogen. “There is, then, an enormous amount of development still to be done. But under Toyoda’s watch, Toyota’s annual R&D budget has risen to a point where it is now nudging £7billion, and the world’s largest car maker by sales volumes isn’t prone to chasing rainbows. It is investigating every technology – batteries, sustainable fuels, hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen-powered engines and more – and feels that all have potential.”
Rainbow Truck Team will add a slightly different truck to their arsenal for the 2024 Dakar Rally according to The Checkered Flag as they will field a modified Volkswagen Amarok that operates on hydrogen, with Dick Zuurmond and Simon Koetsier as driver and navigator.
“Dubbed the Amarok H2, it was developed by E•Lions who specialises in modifying discarded commercial vehicles into fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV). The conversion process entails removing all diesel-related components before installing an electric motor and battery pack, along with the hydrogen fuel cell, while also rewriting any electronics to be compatible with the new technology. A traditional gearbox is used so that the battery can remain at a lower voltage at 48 Volt.”
Race Engine Suppliers taks a look at the Nitro RX/NitroCross electric rallycross car. “Olsbergs MSE produced the FC1-X NitroCross car; all cars have the same specification and share an unusual powertrain, each comprising four motors and giving a total of over 750 kW (1000 bhp) in maximum power ‘push to pass’ mode. It is permanent all-wheel drive, but features a different drive arrangement front to rear.”
STCC and EPWR, the constructors of the new electric touring cars, unveiled the first completed all-electric CUPRA Born at Mantorp Park which will be raced by reigning champions PWR – CUPRA Sweden next year.
“We’re accelerating production, eager to support a sustainable motorsport future and it’s of course a boost for everyone involved to see more cars being delivered to the STCC ahead of 2024.” said Micke Jansson, CEO of EPWR.
It was also announced that SKF has entered into a long-term cooperation with EPWR to accelerate the shift to sustainable electric racing. The all-new 100% electric touring cars from EPWR will make their debut in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship (STCC) in 2024 and will feature several key products and solutions.
Motorsport fuel supplier P1 Fuels has announced an expansion into the mass market with their new e-fuels plant. “The P1 Super Eco100 Pro fossil-free fuel has registered a reduction of 77.4% in CO2 emissions compared to legacy fuel. It has also been shown to emit less NOx, HC, and particulate matter, and helps companies with managing their Scope 3 emissions to reach their sustainability goals. As it scales up its production, P1 Fuels aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 94% compared to legacy fossil fuels.”
Speaking of e-fuels, the Washington Post asks, and answers, What Are E-Fuels and Can Combustion Engine Cars Run Cleanly on Them?
“Electricity-based fuels, also called synthetic fuels, have the same basic chemical structure as conventional fuels used in internal-combustion engines. While fossil fuels like petroleum produce planet-warming CO2 during the extraction and refining processes, e-fuels use electricity from renewable sources to split hydrogen from water, then blend the hydrogen with carbon dioxide from the air. The result is a liquid or gas with hydrocarbon chains that are similar to gasoline, diesel or methane.”
There is an interesting feature in Motorsport Week on the redesign of the Haas F1 garage by GDS Engineering. The modularity of the system they use means the garages are lighter, consist of less parts and less expensive so they can now be shipped via sea-freight. Shipping via sea freight was previously not possible for the team. Given it’s status as F1’s youngest team and one which operates on a far smaller budget than its rivals, the funds to replicate its equipment six times over simply haven’t been there, meaning the team has had to send not only its cars, but its entire garage and hospitality set up via air freight to all 23 races.
“According to Haas, shifting all this to sea freight will save roughly 4T of equipment being flown around the world, which is not only environmentally friendlier, but will save the team millions per season – in fact it’s estimated the entire project will pay for itself in 12-18 months.”
Porsche goes behind the scenes with an exclusive look at the development of the Mission X.
“A decision was made for the project with the working title XS23 in mid 2022. The decisive question at the beginning: What would be the right symbol for the next 75 years of Porsche? It quickly became clear that it had to be the next hypercar in the ancestral line from the 959 to the Carrera GT to the 918 Spyder – with an all-electric drive. The objective was to keep the proportions as compact as possible despite the latest high-performance technology. To start with, the countless concepts and ideas from the past five years were reviewed and reevaluated. “It was important to us to provide the car with a clear visual message: ‘I’m more than just a hypercar. Motorsport is in my genes,’” says Head of Design Michael Mauer.”
The Lamborghini Revuelto super sports V12 hybrid plug-in HPEV (High Performance Electrified Vehicle) has undergone track testing as it prepares for its debut.
“The Revuelto is a truly extraordinary supercar,” said Andrea Caldarelli. “It’s capable of expressing uncommon power but also excellent drivability. The contribution of active aerodynamics in cornering is extremely important, and the car is able to generate impressive downforce. In addition, the new dual-clutch gearbox makes it possible to engage gears with lightning speed, and at the same time, the Revuelto’s response is super smooth and easy to handle.”
Racer has a great look on why Extreme E plans to swap its E for an H as it moves to hydrogen. I must say that I admire founder and CEO Alejandro Agag’s approach.
“At the end of the day what’s important for me is the relevance from the technology point of view,” says Agag, who points out that battery technology development, which will fall by the wayside when Extreme H arrives, is already happening in Formula E. “I think that hydrogen has so many open questions, so many challenges that are opportunities, that I think we can get a lot more use out of the championship as a technology platform if we focus completely on hydrogen,” he says, “pending a final discussion with the teams.”
Speaking of Extreme H, Racecar Engineering Magazine goes inside Spark’s development of the upcoming Extreme H car. “Performance-wise, Spark wants the as-yet-unnamed Extreme H to at least equal its all-electric predecessor, which is designed to produce a top-end power output of 400 kW (around 550 bhp) and can launch from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds.”
The inaugural NXT Gen Cup season has come to a close and the series has offered up some year-end stats before they start preparing for 2024. The title fight went down to the very last race and a mere three points separated champion Elias Adestam and vice champion Linus Granfors and there were ten different podium finishes and plenty of thrilling fights on track. On their site they provide a deep dive into the statistics.
“A total of 23 drivers from seven different countries took part in the 2023 season, including Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Czechia, Great Britain, Germany and Romania. The closest victory margin was 0.118 seconds (Granfors/Hallman, Gelleråsen R2) and the biggest victory margin was 4.118 seconds (Granfors, Nürburgring R2) for an average total margin of just 0.890 seconds!”
With the announcement of MotoGP’s record 22-race schedule for 2024, they have also reiterated their pledge of sustainability. “With a focus on the environment through regionalisation, 2024 also represents MotoGP’s first steps towards 100 per cent renewable fuels. Next season will see a 40 per cent blend introduced, with the goal for MotoGP and its junior championships – Moto2 and Moto3 – to use fully sustainable fuels by 2027.”
Formula E have revealed that their fanbase has grown to a record 344 million. “The record-breaking season was clearly a hit with the fans, as the sport’s global fanbase grew 17% year on year to 344 million. This was discovered following research conducted by Potentia Insight in July, whose sample size consisted of ‘33,000 nationally representative adults across 17 international markets’, according to Formula E’s report.”
Formula E has also revealed that they are looking to race in China again in 2024 while reports are circulating that neither races in South Africa or India will return according to The Race.
“The surge for trying to get a second Indian race is being spearheaded by Jaguar and Mahindra, which are keen to continue the momentum built with the inaugural race held in February. But a second Cape Town E-Prix is much less likely at present. The South African track is understood to have only a small chance of getting a second race next year. This year’s inaugural event was deemed a success by fans but is rumoured to have been a financial disaster, with Formula E said to have taken a significant hit on the event.”