Motorsport and the Magny-Cours circuit want to go green

The circuit of Nevers-Magny-Cours will host a round of the FFSA French Circuit Championships from Friday 13 to Sunday 15 May. One of the events shown, the French F4 Championship, includes cars that use a fuel presented as 100% renewable. Designed by the Spanish company Repsol and made from recycled waste, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 70%.

premium Formula 1 back on the Nevers-Magny-Cours circuit? Not so easy

This makes the French F4 Championship the first single-seater competition in the world to use a biofuel. The first step towards a generalization that would make it possible to make the image of motorsport greener? “Everyone from race organisers, manufacturers and teams is aware of the challenges of environmental protection and the fight against global warming,” confirms Romain Daguenet, sales manager at the Magny-Cours circuit. “Research and investments in cleaner fuels can then benefit the regular car. †

Ecology as safety?

An idea championed by Serge Saulnier, director of the circuit. “Motorsport is also a laboratory. For example, electric vehicles are in full development for the general public. But batteries have their limits. They require the use of rare earths, they have a problem of autonomy and recycling, even if there is progress in these areas. It is expected that the use of biofuels or hydrogen systems will develop to accelerate the energy transition. †

In the 1980s and 1990s, motorsport spawned several important safety innovations, which were first installed on high-end cars sold at dealerships and which eventually became or will be generalized in all vehicles: the ABS (anti-lock braking system), traction control, rear cameras… What about the cleanliness of the vehicles and the reduction of CO2 emissions?

Target CO2 neutrality in 2050

“On the contrary. The innovations come from the car for the general public and, both to protect the planet and because of the regulations and political powers impose on them, they will have to be applied to motorsport”, says Laurent Gaudin, general manager of de France FFSA GT. “We are moving towards the use of biofuels. For now, it is the most exclusive teams that can afford it, because these fuels are still expensive, up to 7 euros per litre. †

Large-scale production of passenger cars could only push those prices down. In any case, French motorsport has set itself a goal: CO2 neutrality by 2050.

The Circuit’s Efforts to Be More Virtuous

More respect for the environment has been the aim of the Magny-Cours circuit for years. The photovoltaic shades are the most visible part. Three fields of more than 22,000 square meters can produce three times the annual consumption of the circuit, and another 10,000 square meters is planned. The track has intensified the sorting of waste, especially tyres, and encouraged teams and users to reduce the use of plastic. In addition, in five years he planted 2,500 plants, including 400 trees, to offset his CO2 emissions. A first step, knowing that reducing emissions is more virtuous than just compensating for them.

Jean-Mathias Joly