Auto racing has been getting a lot of flack in recent years for not being terribly environmentally friendly. Now it seems that this facet of sport may potentially have a lot to offer the average man on the street in terms of preserving our fast-degrading environment. Green Racing may ultimately help lessen the environmental impact that cars have on our ozone.
In a new type of auto racing known as ‘green racing’, the winner doesn’t only have to be fast – he has to be green as well. But that doesn’t limit the action or excitement. Instead it serves to improve the eco-friendly options available to the man on the street. According to John C. Glenn, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specialist, this new type of racing may actually have a huge impact on the technology used in street cars. Automobile technology generally develops at a much faster rate in race cars than it does in street cars. This technology is then carried over to and used in street cars. When the emphasis changes from simply going fast to having more energy efficient engines powered by cleaner-burning fuels, the shift in technological advances also changes. This is one of the most positive effects that Green Racing has on every-day car usage. Glen also noted that people tend to base their choice of car on popular race cars. He said: “They see cars racing on the track, and that’s the kind of car they want to buy.”
It was that sort of thinking that lead Glen and other EPA members to develop the concept of Green Racing. Plans where set in motion as early as 2006 and in 2008 the American Le Mans Series race was the first to feature the Green Challenge. The trend is set to continue this year, with Michelin sponsoring the Michelin Green X Challenge in only a few months time. The prize winners will be determined by three main factors, namely: the amount of petroleum displaced by alternative fuels, the amount of energy used and the amount of greenhouse gas emitted by the vehicle. However, in trying to making racing more eco-friendly event organizers certainly haven’t left much room to slow things down – the average car will still make 200 mph! The Green X Challenge is the only racing series in the world where the cars are actually permitted to be powered by an alternative fuel. And, with current problems faced by the economy combined with the continued green-house gas effect, people are more and more likely to embrace this healthier approach to auto racing.