Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Racing with Relevance: Green Racing Redefines Sustainable Motorsports

October 16, 2014

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Known as the “race within the race,” the Green Racing initiative’s Green Challenge Award recognizes the teams and manufacturers of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship that go the farthest and fastest with the smallest environmental footprint. | Photo credit: Rick Gillam.

Known as the “race within the race,” the Green Racing initiative’s Green Challenge Award recognizes the teams and manufacturers of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship that go the farthest and fastest with the smallest environmental footprint. | Photo credit: Rick Gillam.

The Energy Department, along with partners at EPA and SAE International, conducted public outreach with the Green Racing simulator at the Petit Le Mans race in Atlanta which had more than 100,000 fans in attendance. Petit Le Mans was the final race of the 2014 TUDOR Championship season. | Photo credit: Natalie Committee

The Energy Department, along with partners at EPA and SAE International, conducted public outreach with the Green Racing simulator at the Petit Le Mans race in Atlanta which had more than 100,000 fans in attendance. Petit Le Mans was the final race of the 2014 TUDOR Championship season. | Photo credit: Natalie Committee

The DeltaWing race car provides a dramatic example of what a race car can be. Half the weight, half the aerodynamic drag, and all of the performance of an equivalent traditional race car with significant reduction in fuel consumption. | Photo credit: International Motor Sports Association.

The DeltaWing race car provides a dramatic example of what a race car can be. Half the weight, half the aerodynamic drag, and all of the performance of an equivalent traditional race car with significant reduction in fuel consumption. | Photo credit: International Motor Sports Association.

Chevrolet Corvette was the first team in the GT category to adopt E85 ethanol. Corvette won three manufacturers’ championships and three team championships running on cellulosic ethanol. |Photo credit: Corvette Racing.

Chevrolet Corvette was the first team in the GT category to adopt E85 ethanol. Corvette won three manufacturers’ championships and three team championships running on cellulosic ethanol. |Photo credit: Corvette Racing.

Green Racing is helping to bring new levels of "Clean, Fast, and Efficient" to motorsports competition and consumer vehicles through the announcement of this season’s Green Challenge Award and its new Green Racing Protocols.

On Monday, I had the opportunity to recognize the racing teams bringing sustainable technologies to the racetrack through the TUDOR Night of Champions award ceremony along with our Green Racing partners at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and SAE International (a major engineering organization).

At this event, I presented Porsche with the Green Challenge Award, which recognizes the manufacturer that went the farthest and fastest with the smallest environmental footprint over the season of the International Motor Sports Association’s  TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series. Clearly, Porsche’s success shows that efficient automotive technologies can meet the performance and safety requirements of even the most demanding drivers.

The Green Racing initiative is continuing to look to the future with a major update to its Green Racing protocols. Developed by the Department of Energy, EPA, and SAE International, Green Racing Protocols (SAE J2880) help motorsport sanctioning bodies establish a roadmap to increase green initiatives. It establishes guidelines for helping race series adopt environmentally responsible and sustainable technology both on the racetrack and in race operations.

Building on the original protocols developed in 2008, the revised protocols incorporate lessons learned from working with motorsport sanctioning bodies over the past five years. They expand on the Green Racing “elements” previously included in the original protocols – such as technologies that race vehicles can use - and establish new levels of commitment. These revisions allow race series that did not previously qualify for Green Racing recognition to now participate in the initiative. Some of the new technologies that teams can receive credit for include hybrid powertrains, turbo charging and direct injection as well as flex fuel options and biodiesel.

With more organizations able to participate, our message of transferring successful technologies from the racetrack to the driveway should get out to even more people.

Another way Green Racing moves innovations in sustainable transportation ahead is by supporting technology development for advanced renewable fuels and their increased availability to consumers. For example, teams in the highly-competitive Grand Touring Le Mans (GTLM) racing at this past season’s TUDOR Championship used cellulosic E85 (fuel that is 85% cellulosic ethanol and 15% gasoline).  INEOS Bio, which produces ethanol from agricultural waste, produced this fuel at its integrated biorefinery supported by DOE’s Bioenergy Office. Using cellulosic E85, teams achieved 62% petroleum reduction and 65% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared to the previously-used oil-based fuels, demonstrating that renewable fuels are both sustainable and can provide superior performance.

Green Racing fuels and technologies test the boundaries and push manufacturers to bring those high performing vehicles from the track to the showroom, and ultimately, to American driveways. With the new Green Racing protocols, even more race series, teams, and manufacturers can gain recognition for their efforts to encourage sustainable motorsports, improve personal mobility, and truly race with relevance.

To learn more about the advanced vehicle technologies demonstrated through Green Racing, visit the Vehicle Technologies Office website.