This week the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup documents how vintage, pre-war Bentleys are racing and winning in 2023 using synthetic fuels.
While we tend to think of cutting-edge race cars such as Formula E and the H24 project being the face of sustainable motorsport, vintage racing is also getting involved with some eye-opening results.
I also look at P1 fuels’ work with both the Bentleys as well as Sebastian Vettel’s Race Without Trace initiative and their possible involvement in Formula 1.
Finally, I have details on the sustainable initiatives taking place this month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the possibility of all-electric rallying and potential changes to the F1 calendar that will increase its sustainability credentials.
All this and much more in this week’s edition of the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Its green news racers can use.
Sustainable Motorsport News
Sebastian Vettel is continuing the sustainable motorsport message behind his “Race Without Trace” organization by announcing that he has partnered with P1 Fuels to run sustainable fuels during his outings at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Vettel said: “Synthetic fuels offer a solution to having fun, responsibly. A lot of people just don’t know that yet. It took me a long time to find a partner [P1 Fuels] that aligned with my beliefs on sustainable fuels, could deliver a direct replacement, and who also was commercially ready and viable to deliver that fuel. That’s why I’ve chosen P1 Fuels.”
Not only are P1 Fuels partnering with Vettel, but they have also revealed that the carbon-neutral fuel supplier is in talks with Formula 1 teams. And while F1 is currently working exclusively with Aramco for the development of regulations for the 2026 fuels, P1 says discussions are already underway with teams to see how it could get involved.
“It is getting to know each other,” Pochammer told Autosport at Rally Portugal about where his company was at with F1 teams. “There is no tender in F1 right now as Aramco is the one and only in this place. But in F1, everyone can drive with different fuel companies. So actually, we do have a couple of F1 racing companies who already work with teams, and they want to test our products.”
See more about P1 Fuels powering vintage Bentleys below.
The AlphaTauri Formula One team have achieved three-star environmental accreditation from the International Automobile Federation (FIA), motorsport’s global governing body.
“The track was designed by Hungarian Ferenc Gulacsi, who explained what he wanted to achieve with his layout: “I designed the course with three aspects in mind: safety, challenge for the competitors and sustainability.”
“If there’s one thing we can we all learn from Extreme E, it is that motorsport and the environment both benefit by placing sustainability at the heart of what we all do – whether we are organisers, competitors or spectators.”
You can learn more about Carbon Positive Motorsport from my interview with founder Paul Glass here.
McLaren Racing recently published its annual Sustainability Report , with CEO Zak Brown calling for greater collaboration across the industry, and for teams to work alongside F1 and the FIA to help create a regulatory framework that better enables investment and innovation in sustainability without compromising performance.
“We strongly believe in the cost cap and wouldn’t want to see anything that undermines its integrity, but current regulations have created some unintended barriers when it comes to investing in sustainability. It’s been fantastic to see so much support from F1 and other teams on this issue, and we’re delighted that the FIA has established a working group to explore next steps.
“But to unlock our sport’s potential to drive the development of more sustainable technologies that can spark positive changes on a global scale, we need a genuine step change. That requires a level playing field so teams can work towards achieving the same targets and no longer need to choose between investing in car performance and investing in sustainability.
“Our sport needs a clear regulatory framework with financial, technical and sporting regulations that better enable us all to innovate and invest in sustainability. We need to find better ways to share expertise and insights across our industry. Only true collaboration will help us drive meaningful change. And if we want to achieve a step change with the new set of 2026 regulations, then those decisions need to be made now.”
The full report can be read here.
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
On Monday 1st May, 21 Vintage Bentleys lined up at the Castle Combe Circuit to fight for the spoils over two 20-minute races. Both race victories were taken by William Medcalf, founder of Vintage Bentley, in a 3 4 ½ Litre consignment car. After setting the fastest time of the day in qualifying, Medcalf crossed the line powered by 100% synthetic fuel, closely followed by three of our clients in their respective W.Os to take the win.
“The results of P1 compared to E5 proved successful across the board; test tube product mixing demonstrated zero change or erosion in comparison, whilst diagnostics from a full rolling road dynamometer test and set up indicated both positive and simultaneous performance to torque and air fuel ratio in addition to power runs. Furthermore, we delivered our Generations Track Day at the historic Goodwood Motor Circuit powered by synthetic fuel. This was the perfect synergy of our next generation with a renewable solution for pre-war driving.”
IndyCar’s venture into racing with an electrical hybrid assist system next season could be most effective on oval tracks, according to Honda’s US motorsport boss.
“You tend to draft a lot on ovals, and the car in front makes the hole in the air, so maybe you want to be clever, so it actually gives you much more control. We don’t really want pack racing, we want more overtaking, but with the electrical stuff you can recover here, then you can do what you want.”
The FIA has published the invitation to tender to become Formula 2 and Formula 3’s future tyre supplier, and has laid out environmental targets as well as desired tire characteristics.
“The selected manufacturer must obtain three-star FIA Environmental Accreditation during the term of their supply contract, and they will be responsible for independent particulate emissions monitoring and life cycle assessment of their tyres as F1 and its support series seek to be more sustainable.”
Autosport asks the question, do full EVs have a future in rallying? “One of these could be fully electric, which is becoming increasingly prevalent in the rally world – a point reflected by the FIA adding new Rally5e regulations to its pyramid last year. This development, following positive manufacturer feedback on the first all-electric one-make rally series introduced by the ADAC in 2021, suggests an EV-powered future is no pipe dream.”
“Formula Scout got to speak to the grand prix’s co-ordinator Joel Do Vale, who is also vice-president of France’s motorsport governing body the FFSA, and the vision was clear: biofuel and electric motors was the event’s future and would be the focus for 2023. With that message clearly publicised, it was then with some surprise that those plans fell apart this year.”
Some of the upcoming performance EVs are getting interesting. In the video above, the 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N Teaser shows off its synthetic engine sound and paddle shifters.
The NTT IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway have announced an expanded set of sustainability initiatives that are in effect at the speedway this month. Penske President and CEO Mark Miles and IMS President Doug Boles held a press conference on Saturday to detail all the ways the speedway continues to be more sustainable in its operation.
Among the initiatives:
- There is a whole new set of LED lighting in the team’s garage areas, with the facility using the opportunity to improve the brightness as well as reduce energy usage in a $250,000 upgrade.
- There are new aluminum cups that are in use throughout the hospitality and media areas that have been recycled and are fully recyclable again after use.
- Other fan-facing pushes include a special line of clothing that is made from recycled plastic bottles, which are made in a way that it is nearly impossible to distinguish the material from cotton.
- IMS is now partnering with Keys2Work, which is an alternate staffing service that employs at-risk adults and those looking to re-enter the workforce that would traditionally have a difficult time finding an employer to work with them.
- Last year 4,000 pounds of food was sent to local food banks, and that number is set to expand this year with the new partnership.
Further details on IMS and Indycar’s sustainability and DEI initiatives are set out in their newly released Penske Entertainment DEI and Sustainability report Accelerating Change which you can read here.
Last week in the Business of Motorsport I mentioned that one of the biggest issues with making Formula 1 more sustainable is the logistics of the sport. Flying the cars, equipment and personnel around the world is carbon intensive and F1 have stated that they understand the issue and are working on regionalizing the calendar to make it all more sustainable.
This week The Race reports that there are big potential changes coming to Formula 1’s calendar for 2024 and beyond.
“‘Regionalising’ the calendar has been an intention of F1 as part of its sustainability efforts, although there is little evidence of it being realised so far – with the Austin/Mexico/Brazil triple-header the only notable example. However, it was always said to be a longer-term plan, at least partly because existing contracts may have locked certain races into certain dates. In 2024, though, the intention is to start the season with a more thought-out sequence of races.”
NXT Gen Cup has moved its headquarters from Stockholm to Gothenburg, Sweden, as production of the 20 all-electric LRT NXT1 race cars near the final stages ahead of the inaugural season. The new facilities span over 1300 square metres to include production, offices, and spare parts.
Organizers of the STCC have confirmed further revisions to the calendar for the inaugural season of the new electric era.
The campaign had been due to kick off at Falkenberg in July, but delays caused as a result of component shortages required to build the all-new STCC machines has resulted in the decision to move the opening round back to August.
As a result, the event at Drivecenter Arena in Skellefteå will now become the opening round of the campaign, with the remaining rounds all retaining the dates they held on the previously announced schedule.
Details of Formula E’s Gen4 car plan have been revealed by The Race. The initial framework for the next Formula E car, which is set to debut in the 2026/27 season, is reaching completion and official tenders are set to go out this month with a decision to be made on the technology providers this October.
“We don’t want to go too bespoke; we don’t want to put any constraint into the whole development, we want to go safe, still ensuring we remain at the cutting edge of electric technology.”