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Motorsport is the best and quickest proving ground for the energy efficient engines and greener fuels

This was the overriding message resulting from the Motorsport Industry Association’s (MIA’s) 2nd European Cleaner Racing Conference, held at the Autosport International Show, NEC, Birmingham on January 9.

MIA’s Chief Executive Chris Aylett commented, “No engines use energy more efficiently than those that power today’s Formula One cars – the engineers behind them are the best in the world. If the world’s leading road car manufacturers were to fully engage with such innovators, the development of greener engines and fuels could be greatly accelerated, and the public made more eager to buy them.”

New environmentally friendly fuels already being pioneered

Of course, such wizards are already hard at work in the sport, some of whom were among the many eminent speakers at the conference. Several, like engine ace Ulrich Baretzky, also spoke at the first conference in 2003, when he stunned delegates by predicting a diesel-powered Audi would win Le Mans. It did in both 2006 and 2007.

Now Richard Karlstetter of Audi’s fuel supplier Shell has predicted an Audi will soon win Le Mans powered by their second generation bio-to–liquid diesel fuel (BTL). That is one made from agricultural/forestry residues such as straw and wood chips, as opposed to the first–generation type, which are created from food crops and currently causing increasing global concern. Don’t bet on that landmark victory not coming in 2008!

International Governments now climbing on the motorsport bandwagon

Last week, the European Parliament called on the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA) and their F1 teams to make the sport more environmentally friendly. It stated, “MEPs recognise the role motorsport can play in changing attitudes and customer behaviour toward environmentally friendly technology.” The request received a positive response from the FIA, who plan to introduce Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) in F1 from 2009 – a valuable technological innovation that is likely to be developed through rallying as well.

Also last week, the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) announced an official partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency to incorporate ‘green racing’ principles into its 2008 racing season. This landmark move follows a series of Cleaner Racing Conferences organised by the MIA in the USA throughout 2007 and before.

In summary, Chris Aylett said, “There was a danger that motorsport would fail to embrace green technology fast enough and become an environmentally unacceptable pastime – young people simply won’t support a sport that is out of step. Now it is clear that we can take a lead in not one, but two key ways:

Motorsport can help deliver rapid development of energy efficient engines and fuels.

Motorsport will serve as a vital global communicator, delivering the green automotive message to all corners of the earth through its TV images.”

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