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Thursday, November 1, 2007

5 Ways that Racing Helps the Planet

As the world struggles to find ways to combat global warming, the racing industry begins to enact measures to reduce emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.

Manufacturers have developed ways to make global motorsports cleaner and more environmentally friendly. To the non- race fan, a 3-hour race on a Sunday is an incredible waste of resources. However, a race serves as a competition as well as a high-speed research experiment. These are examples of what racing has done in the fight against global warming.

1. The Indy Racing League has mandated that all competitors use fuel- grade ethanol. Honda, the engine supplier for the series, made minor adjustments to the engine in order to run the new fuel. The fuel is supplied by Renova Energy of Idaho, which produces 10 million gallons of ethanol per year.

2. Audi, a manufacturer in the American Le Mans Series, developed the turbo- diesel R10 TDI racecar. The R10 utilizes a system that produces more horsepower while reducing fuel consumption. This system has eliminated the smell, cloud of pollution, and noise that is commonly associated with diesel power. Audi has applied these advancements to their production vehicle side.

3. The American Le Mans Series has mandated that each competitor use E10 fuel or clean diesel. E10 fuel is a 90 percent ethanol and 10 percent gasoline mixture. Ethanol is a renewable fuel source that is produced in the States, and releases less carbon dioxide when burned.

4. The sanctioning body of Formula 1, the FIA, has begun to look towards the use of biofuels by the year 2011. The FIA is actively looking for ways to cut costs in the development of an F1 car. One way is to use standard universal components on the body and power train that may cut fuel consumption in half.

5. NASCAR and its gas guzzling racecars have moved to unleaded racing fuel this season. This was done in an effort to lessen the environmental impact of 43 cars racing for the better part of Sunday afternoons.

The damage to the planet’s ozone, from auto emissions, is a political hot button. Race fans take heart, the lessons learned, from the racetrack regarding fuel consumption, are slowly finding their way to our street cars.

photo of Audi R10 TDI courtesy of

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