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IndyCar to use 100% renewable race fuel from 2023

IndyCar will become the first US motorsport championship to run 100% renewable race fuel next season as part of a new deal with official supplier Shell.

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet

Shell’s new fuel will consist of a blend of second-generation ethanol derived from sugarcane waste and other biofuels.

Currently, the fuel used by IndyCar is a variation of E85, which contains 85% ethanol and 15% high-octane racing fuel. The new renewable fuel offers at least a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the fossil-based derivative.

“In discussions with Shell, we looked at what can do above and beyond a sponsorship in a racing situation, how can we do something for the environment?” said Roger Penske, owner of Team Penske, the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “So, we went to work.

“Obviously, with our two engine manufacturers (Chevrolet and Honda), we basically had to get both of those manufacturers comfortable from the standpoint of durability and reliability and also from the power perspective. I would say this is really a club decision, meaning the manufacturers, certainly IndyCar and certainly ourselves from the standpoint of the speedway.

“It’s the first real series to have this kind of commitment. Believe me, everyone wanted to be sure it was done properly and we got what we wanted technically.”

Roger Penske

Roger Penske

Photo by: Chris Jones

The second-generation ethanol used in the fuel will be sourced from Raízen, a Brazilian Joint-Venture created in 2011 by Shell and Cosan. Raízen is one of the largest sugarcane ethanol producers in the world, and owner of the first commercial second-generation ethanol plant.

“This is a watershed time when you think about the environment, the sustainability – the thing we are all focused on today,” Penske said. “These are top-of-the-line opportunities.”

In addition to the 100% renewable racing fuel, Shell and IndyCar will continue their sustainability journey together in several other ways, including:

Pennzoil Synthetics 0W oils are used to power all engines running in the IndyCar Series and are now carbon neutral.

A 150kW, high-power electric charger has been installed on the IMS grounds. All race tyres for practice, qualifications and race day of the Indy 500 were delivered using the Freightliner eCascadia from Penske Truck Leasing’s fleet of electric vehicles.

IMS will also offset its entire operational carbon footprint during May through its contributions to GreenTrees, which restores natural habitats in more than 1 million acres across seven states in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, and part of Shell’s portfolio of Nature Based Solutions projects.

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