Food-fuelled racing car revs up for the future

by Published Tue 05 May 2009 13:50, Last updated: 2009-05-05
Food-fuelled racing car unveiled today

Researchers at the University of Warwick today unveiled their revolutionary green racing car.
Capable of speeds in excess of 145mph, the WorldFirst Formula 3 eco-car is fuelled by waste chocolate and vegetable oil, and constructed mainly from plant material, including potato-starch wing mirrors and a root-vegetable steering wheel. Other components are derived from flax fibres, soybean oil and recycled plastics and aluminium.
In addition, a groundbreaking oxygen-generating catalyst fitted to the radiators cleans the air as the car moves.
The research team at the University’s Warwick Manufacturing Group and the Warwick Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre were motivated by the current uncertainty over the future of Formula 1, based on financial and commercial worries, and the negative attitudes towards sustainable vehicles displayed by many car ‘experts’.
Dr Steve Maggs of the Warwick team said: “As original equipment manufacturers focus on decreasing engine emissions, to meet future CO2, the WorldFirst project proves that if you are going to wholeheartedly embrace the ‘green is great’ ethos you have to broaden your vision and have a strategy that stretches throughout the chain from the raw materials to the final disposal of the car.
“The project clearly demonstrates that automotive environmentalism can and should be about the whole package.”
Project manager James Meredith added: “It’s been very exciting working on the project and important for our team to develop a working example of a truly ‘green’ motor racing car. The WorldFirst project expels the myth that performance needs to be compromised when developing the sustainable motor vehicles of the future.”

This is exactly the type of innovation sought by Sir Richard Branson, who recently looked into sponsoring the Honda F1 team and called for motor sport to champion green technology.

Designers at Warwick hope their advanced environmental technology will be seized upon by the big names in motor racing, and are also asking sport authorities to change their rules. The WorldFirst Formula 3 car currently meets all manufacturing and performance criteria to take to the grid but not the regulations on fuel. Formula 3 cars are not presently allowed to run on biodiesel.

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