The world’s oldest motor race is committed to powering their cars with 100 per cent ethanol by next year using a renewable ethanol supplier, as IndyCar makes a commitment to sustainability for the racing series.
In a press release published during the championship’s prestigious Month of May, IndyCar announced amidst a range of other sustainability initiatives the switch to second-generational renewable ethanol primarily derived from the waste by-product of sugarcane.
As well as this, the series has shifted to synthetic oils and lubricants, tyres for the Indy 500 are to be delivered to the track using electric vehicles with a high-power charging station installed on the grounds, as well as offsetting their carbon footprint by contributing to natural habitat restoration efforts.
This announcement is the culmination of nearly two decades of deliberation, conflict and varying rules surrounding the use of ethanol fuel that began with the help of the late driver Paul Dana.
Mr Dana was sponsored in 2005 by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council, whose primary goal was to correct the prevailing wisdom that ethanol fuel damaged road cars and pave the way for more sustainable fuels to be used for transportation.
In 2006, the same year that the driver that started the process was tragically killed in an accident, what was then the Indy Racing League started to add ethanol to cars that were typically powered by methanol.
Whilst the initial blend in 2006 was 90 per cent methanol to 10 per cent ethanol, by 2007 the fuel mix had transformed completely to 98 per cent ethanol and 2 per cent gasoline, with the latter only added due to US regulations to ensure it could not be consumed and would burn visibly for safety reasons.
For a race that took place outside of the USA, the Sao Paulo Indy 300, used E100 fuel, a pure ethanol fuel that had been used in the region since the late 1970s.