Saturday 22nd October 2016                 Change text size:

The motorsport world’s race to cut its environmental impact

The motorsport world’s race to cut its environmental impact

On the face of it, the world of motorsport isn’t a sustainable or environmentally friendly one. Alex Blackburne explores a couple of the steps it’s taking to change its ways.

In the 1970s and ‘80s, a movement began in the automobile industry to gradually phase out the use of leaded petrol, because of the dangerously high pollution levels emitted.

Following the initial cut down, bans were imposed all over the world, as country after country began making the switch to unleaded fuel.

The UK was one of the last to enforce such a ban, with the sale of leaded petrol becoming illegal in 2000, but the effects of such a decision have been noticeable, with reduced emissions and lower crime rates the most evident advantages of the shift.

With the global car industry plodding away at making unleaded fuels the norm, the international motorsport community continued to use the harmful leaded fuel.

That is, until quite recently.

In 2008, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, commonly referred to as NASCAR, began using unleaded fuel, about ten years too late, some might argue.

But just three years after this switch, the sport has implemented an even bigger, more worthwhile modification to their fuel usage – by switching to an ethanol-based biofuel this year.

Biofuels, touted as environmentally friendly substitutes for fossil fuels, are becoming increasingly popular as the global automotive industry begins to recognise the impact its vehicles are having on our environment.

NASCAR is committed to being an environmental leader, and the sport has taken significant steps over the years toward conservation by introducing measurable, best-in-class initiatives in recycling, alternative energy, and carbon mitigation,” said Brian France, chairman and CEO of NASCAR.

The fuel that NASCAR is planning to utilise is Sunoco Green E15, “a high-performance fuel, providing the same drivability without harming engines”.

The transition to Sunoco Green E15 takes our long-term sustainability strategy to the next level”, continued France.

Sunoco Green E15 is good for racing, good for the environment and good for America.

While fuelling the same close, door-to-door racing that thrills our fans, American ethanol creates jobs in the United States, helps foster energy independence, and continues the greening of our sport.”

The implementation is just the first in what will hopefully be a long line of changes within the world motorsport industry. Another possible alteration is to have airless tyres – such as the ones designed by Bridgestone.

With a unique structure of spokes stretching along the inner sides of the tires supporting the weight of the vehicle”, a Bridgestone press release stated, “There is no need to periodically refill the tires with air, meaning that the tires require less maintenance.”

This video shows the innovative, stylish wheels in action, though as you can see, they’re fixed onto a mobility scooter, so using them on Formula One cars that are going up to 220mph might be quite a way off.

Nevertheless, these are just two refreshing innovations and decisions that are contributing to a reduction in motorsport’s collective carbon footprint. It’s likely that we’ll be seeing a lot more following their lead very soon.

These technologies need investment in order to get off the ground, and ultimately make our planet a more sustainable one. To look into doing this, contact your financial adviser, if you have one, or complete our online form and we’ll connect you with a specialist ethical adviser.

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