Motorsports aren't green by themselves, but they have the largest spectator base in the world ($43 billion industry) and so to the pragmatic green, they are a good opportunity for both improvement and reaching many people.
Motor Racing Becomes Greener
Many of the organizations that create the rules for racing are looking into allowing regenerative braking and hybrid drivetrains in the coming years, and hopefully we'll have 100% electric racing soon enough (it could be possible with swappable battery packs).
2008 Jetta TDI Cup
But in the meantime, an interesting development is the Jetta TDI Cup, a carbon neutral (certified by Carbonfund.org) event sponsored by Volkswagen. The vehicles are getting about 25 miles per gallon in racing conditions, which is about 500% better than many race cars, and better than many regular vehicles that are never used in demanding conditions.
They also want to use biodiesel, but they haven't so far because of fuel supply and certification issues (as you can imagine, they are fussy about fuel). We hope they'll soon be able to use second-generation biodiesel made from algae.
Is it perfect? Certainly not. But if you compare it to other similar events, it is definitely a step in the right direction. And if it gets racing fans excited about low carbon fuels and high fuel economy, even better.
Sponsor a Race Car
Car #22 in the Jetta TDI Cup is a bit different. They are taking a more DIY approach and are asking for individual donations, with the names of these people being on the car. They even printed the TreeHugger logo because they like the site (TreeHugger/Discovery didn't pay for it).
So if you think that motor sports are due for a change and want to encourage a greener for of racing, visit YourSponsorHere.com.
Green(er) Motor Racing
Planet Green Drops by Indianapolis 500 Race
Biodiesel Lola to Race in Le Mans
F1 Racers To Go Hybrid
Green Star Creates Breakthrough Micronutrient that Boosts Algae Growth
Solazyme B100 Algae Biodiesel Goes on the Road
Green Basics: Biodiesel
More on the Jetta TDI Cup
2008 Jetta TDI Cup VW Site
SEMA 2007: Jetta TDI Cup Racer plays capture the (chequered) fla
Thanks to James Kirkham for the photos.