A1GP switches to ethanol mix, ships fuel to New Zealand

Switching a racing series to ethanol? Smart. Shipping the ethanol around the world to show how green that racing series is? Less so.

A1GP has announced that its upcoming race in New Zealand will mark the inauguration of the series' switch to E30 Hiperflo ethanol-gasoline blend, which, as organizers point out, cuts CO2 emissions by 21% and, of course, reduces the use of fossil fuels. The mixture is specially made for use in A1GP and consists of 30% ethanol and 70% gasoline. While IndyCars and Champ Cars have run on methanol since the '60s, both series are based in the US and have to ship their fuel to fewer races abroad than A1GP.

Logistical considerations aside, overall we say it's a good thing that motorsports are shifting to more sustainable and environmentally-friendly fuel sources. At the 2008 Detroit Auto Show this week we heard all about the American Le Mans Series and its green intentions. Ferrari, which is set to begin supplying the engines for A1GP in two years, revealed its bio-ethanol-powered 430 Spider in Detroit, as well. Meanwhile, the FIA has revealed a preliminary timeline for introducing a new F1 engine formula that's anticipated to include environmental measures.

Excerpt from the press release after the jump.

[Source: A1GP via AutoblogGreen]

Press release excerpt

A1GP makes switch to Greener Racing

Taupo, New Zealand – A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will make history next weekend (18 – 20 January) as all 22 national teams competing in the A1GP Taupo, New Zealand take to the track with biofuel in their tanks. The landmark event will make A1GP the first truly global motorsport series to race on a 30 per cent biofuel mix.

The cornerstone of an ambitious series of initiatives to help reduce its environmental footprint, A1GP's new fuel, an ethanol based product Hiperflo™ E30, is sourced from sugar beet in Europe and produced specifically for A1GP. Developed in partnership with Zytek, the series' engine manufacturer, the fuel produces less harmful particulate matter than conventional fuels and will reduce CO2 emissions by 21 per cent per car based on a wheel to wheel calculation.

The introduction of E30 was delayed from the start of the season to ensure vehicle performance wasn't affected by the change, but A1GP CEO Pete da Silva says the short wait has only made the switch more exciting.

'Through our THINK Greener Racing initiative we're committed to leading a revolution that helps the planet and safeguards the future of our sport,' da Silva said. 'The number one priority is to produce a cutting edge series, but we firmly believe we can deliver exciting racing while minimising the impact of our operations on the environment.'

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