The State of Sustainable Racing 2012

The Raceway at Sonoma worked with the Green MBA program at Dominican University to produce a comprehensive research report on the State of Sustainable Racing 2012.  This first-of-a-kind research looks at 16 cutting-edge case studies in alternative fuel and electric racing.

“Electric racing offers the potential to both accelerate the development of electric drivetrain technology in the crucible of competition, but also to show how exciting zero-emissions race cars can be and so shift consumer attitudes towards the adoption of EVs.”

-Drayson Racing chief Lord Paul Drayson.

Why do race fans come to the racetrack? Ultimately, it is to experience the highest performing machines engaged in a captivating, competitive structure. Sustainable performance racing is a new concept that is not only “green,” it is also out-performing fossil fuel-powered racing in many ways, specifically in the advancement of new technology.

Driving Forces – Race Industry Innovation

Racing and benchmarking have historically been used to test new features, promote brand awareness and inspire loyalty. One hundred years ago the first Indy 500 drew no less than 46 cars from different makes, including Benz, Buick, Fiat and Mercedes. Although part of the draw at that first race was the prize money, for many, it was the opportunity to promote their brands. The competition amongst manufacturers drives innovation in technology.

It is this spirit of racing and the desire to win that is present in the emerging sustainable racing industry. Through the realization that transportation vehicles are quickly moving towards renewable energy sources, the racing industry is following suit and beginning to test their sustainable technologies on the racetrack.

Winning, Redefined

Traditionally, winning has combined a number of factors from speed and performance to strategy and technique. These factors will not change as racing evolves, and it is through the competitive spirit that racing will persevere through headwinds generated by fossil fuel depletion and air quality regulations.

The next generation of race winners will be determined by a new set of performance factors. For example, as electric vehicles are hitting the racetrack, owners are challenged not only to conserve energy, but also with how to recharge their vehicles in the most effective ways possible. And electric vehicle and battery manufacturers understand that in order to move their products into the mainstream, they will need to prove their technologies on the racetrack. Alternative power technology is no longer dominated by efficiency and conservation – it is incorporating the ability to provide more power and recharge faster.

See all case studies

Research by Dominican University’s Green MBA Program

Authors: Jake Baker, Robin Carew, Diana Connolly, Jack Decker

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