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Eco-friendly race car: 'WorldFirst' of many?

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WorldFirst car

The WorldFirst race car is a speedy veggie delight. But how will it fare on the track?

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It's fast, it's furious, and it's partially made from carrots. The WorldFirst eco-friendly race car - the first Formula 3 racing car made from sustainable materials - is set to debut on the 17th October.

But does it signal that the racing industry is on the cusp of a green revolution?

There's certainly much anticipation surrounding the long-awaited first outing of the F3 race car. If all goes to plan, the team of researchers from Warwick University hope their car will speed its way to an environment-friendly victory at Brands Hatch in October.

"Our feeling is that it will either significantly outperform the field or do quite the opposite," says team member Steve Maggs. "Obviously, we hope it comes first by a long way...but you will never find out how well a racing car does until you actually race it."

The WorldFirst car

The car, which is powered by biodiesel and chocolate vegetable oil, is made almost entirely out of recycled materials. The steering wheel is made from carrot fibres wrapped around a tight foam core. The wing mirrors - made from a material derived entirely from potatoes - protrude from a recycled carbon fibre chassis.

With such a unique combination of materials on show it's inevitable the car will cause a stir. "I imagine some will be looking on with interest and others will be willing us to fail miserably," says Maggs. "That's the nature of competition."

Greener racing

The polarisation of opinion in the racing industry is plain to see. Many organisations have been under pressure to create green programs, and some are embracing it more willingly than others.

V8 Supercars Australia are leading the way with a commitment to run their cars on an 85 per cent ethanol fuel blend, alongside tree planting schemes and other initiatives to encourage V8 fans to reduce their own carbon footprint. Others doing their part include the US based IndyCar Series which is fuelled by a corn-grown 100 per cent ethanol fuel.

Richard Craill, Director of Communications for the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship, says the move towards renewable fuels is inevitable. "We are more than aware that sooner rather than later we'll need to 'go green'."

"Everyone in Australian Formula 3 is following WorldFirst's F3 project with interest," he says. "It's very exciting and certainly shows the potential of what can be done when someone looks outside the box."

Craill, for one, is for a green revolution. "I think motorsport is actually one of the better placed industries to lead the charge to renewable and clean burning fuels," he says. "This is a highly adaptable industry filled with very, very smart people who are always looking for new ways of doing things. [That's why] you'll find motorsport leading the way in sustainable fuels sooner, rather than later. "

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Comments

When will people get smart and figure out that the only sustainable, viable, non-Petroleum-based fuel that makes sense is H?
That's right, Hydrogen. Seawater-derived, electrolysis using Nuclear-powered reverse-Fuel-Cell technology that we already have, compressed and liquified for storage, transport, and distribution nationwide. Until we get Soccer Mom and Dad to the point where they're qualified and capable to handle cryogenic fuels (not likely in OUR lifetimes, but someday), cars, trucks, buses can all be fueled with compressed gaseous Hydrogen, just as many today are powered with compressed Natural Gas, or CNG. Only let's move into the late 20th century and get out of the piston-engine era, shall we? Reciprocating engines are SO 19th century technology, just ask Frank Whittle. The gas turbine engine is much more efficient, look at any helicopter, check out the M1 Abrams MBT - is that enough power for you? And it needn't be that big, either; the Bede BD-5J flew on a turbine barely larger than a Thermos bottle, and the Silver Bullet was fast enough for James Bond! And that was on plain kerosene and no using of any payday loans! Hydrogen is much more efficient a fuel - and no pollution!

I tend to think that big sponsors of Formula One will never be eco friendly.
A world first would be a smartest race, not a fastest.
In time some scientific mind will have the answer that will turn a petrol head into an eco head.