Thoughtful Thursdays: Green Innovations in Racing

Published August 30, 2012

In recent years, motor sport competitions have been critical to the development and advancement of energy-efficient technology. Not only is racing an internationally loved sport, making it a global platform to help introduce important technology that can reduce greenhouse gases and exhaust pollutants, but it also provides innovators the testing ground to demonstrate the durability of these improvements under the most demanding conditions.

In fact, some of the most essential green technologies used in our average cars first debuted on the race track. From transmissions that give drivers better control of their power flow, to more durable tires and the use of alternative fuels.

In addition to the eco-friendlier technological innovations that have specifically come from racing, many of the bigger series, including the American Le Mans, have encouraged the use of regenerative energy powertrains (hybrids), better control of exhaust pollution, and the use of catalytic converters as effective emission-control systems. These efforts have helped to improve air quality and better the experience for racing fans!

A green ALMS race car. The series has developed multiple models of eco-friendlier cars, including one that is completely fueled by natural gas!

ALMS, the series running the Grand Prix of Baltimore, is considered the greenest racing series in the world. As a global leader in green racing, it's partnered with the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency to create the “Green X Challenge,” a scorecard to measure the environmental performance of race cars. Scores are based on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted, petroleum consumed, and the amount of energy required to complete each race (efficiency). The ALMS has championed this challenge as a “race within a race to an energy-secure and economically vibrant future.”

These monumental changes in the sport are not only critical to the continued transition of industries to adopt environmentally friendly practices, but they also ensure that racing will continue to develop as a world-class competition to be enjoyed by millions of fans for years to come!

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