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June 28, 2009


Observation; for a race car to go fast and win races, it has to extract the most amount of energy from the fuel that it possibly can. That means maximal burn efficiency. And they are using a much higher octane fuel -- including alochols in some cases -- that often burn cleaner.

Furthermore, the F1 circuit are actually running hybrid cars this year. Not hybrid in the traditional sense, but hybrid in that the cars use flywheel based regenerative braking (http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=f1+flywheel+braking+2009&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8). A number of cars are running this way in 2009, with -- I think -- it being mandatory in some relatively near future year.

The real opportunity for carbon footprint reduction in racing is likely not with the actual race event itself, but with educating the fanbase and actively promoting carbon footprint reduction within their ranks. I'd wager that the fans driving to/from the races in their RVs, beaters, and muscle cars consume far more fuel far less efficiently than what happens on the track and in the garage of the race teams.

(I might likely be wrong... I'd love to see a correlative study)

There is also the return on investment in high-tech stuff. Much of the various "green" technologies are derivatives of various military and high-performance research projects. There have been tons of technologies that have come out of racing that have led to more efficient and longer lasting consumer grade cars.

And, again, keep in mind that sponsorship of a race team is often about getting your logo / brand in front of millions of viewers in a market where your company doesn't have a ton of presence. Bringing a bit of "green company" exposure to the average NASCAR fan is probably beneficial in and of itself.

hmmm you're assuming none of the technologies developed in racing filter down to 'ordinary cars' making them more fuel efficient.

If anything i would say they are 'greener' companies :)

I don't think there has been much r&d from racing in the past 20 years that has been directly applicable to the family car other than some of the light weight construction techniques, but most of those were taken from the aviation industry by racing.

Emissions from racing engines are ridiculously high. Carbon emissions scale by the amount of fuel burned, but the racing engines produce large amounts of other pollutants that are removed through the use of catalytic converters and other tactics that are missing from race cars.

The sport is fine by itself, but is hardly green promoting. As you note it could be through rules changes, but no one would do that.

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