Formula Student to use all sustainable fuels in 2024

Motorsport UK to act as key sustainability partner in supporting University teams running combustion engines to choose two SUSTAIN Racing fuels provided by Coryton.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) is delighted to extend its partnership with Motorsport UK, in its role as key sustainability partner, and SUSTAIN Fuels to provide sustainable fuels to all competitors at this summer’s competition held at Silverstone race circuit. Motorsport UK, the governing body for motorsport in the UK, has provided a grant for entrants to use SUSTAIN sustainable fuels in ICE powertrains within the Formula Student competition.

This initiative is a part of continued efforts by organisers at the IMechE to improve sustainability at the event and reduce its carbon footprint. By inspiring young engineers involved, UK motorsport’s organising body, Motorsport UK, is taking a leading role in the promotion of sustainable fuels, in line with its objectives for events, competitors and entrants to embrace sustainable practices wherever possible.

“Motorsport UK recognises that motorsport needs to have a broad view of the future propulsion solutions and incorporate sustainable technology, including fuels, within their genesis,” explains Motorsport UK Technical Director, Ian Smith.

“Formula Student is a key opportunity for young, talented engineers to get their first experience of competitive motorsport and many go on to have professional careers in the sport, or associated industries. From the very start of their careers, we want them to consider how emerging technology can be included in designs, without compromising overall performance.”

Organised by the IMechE and now in its 26th year, the Formula Student competition sees teams university students develop and build single-seater race cars for a finals event on track at Silverstone, providing them with practical skills and teamworking experience in addition to their academic studies, going on to become highly capable graduate engineers.

The SUSTAIN Racing E85 and 95 RON E10 fuels offer an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for the combustion vehicles at the competition when compared to fossil fuel-based equivalents. Both are second-generation advanced biofuels, created from agricultural waste, and have been designed to be a drop-in solution, meaning that student teams do not need to modify their existing engines to realise their benefits.

This follows the successful debut of these fuels as an optional choice at the 25th anniversary event in 2023, which saw a third of combustion engine teams opt to run the SUSTAIN fuels, including competition winners MoRe Modena Racing from the University of Modena, Italy. Running their Custom Suzuki GSX-R engine on E85 during the on-track dynamic events across the competition weekend, the times they set quickly dispelled any concerns about the biofuels’ adverse effects on performance.

David Richardson, Director at SUSTAIN said: “Sustainable fuels have a huge role to play in the future of motorsport and we’re already seeing that in many series across the world. That’s why it is fantastic to have this opportunity to show the next generation of engineers what sustainable biofuel can do, and to allow them to experience it in action. The fact that last year’s winners used SUSTAIN Racing fuel just proves there is no drop in performance – but there is huge potential for the future of a cleaner motorsport industry.”

While more teams than ever are pivoting to develop electric cars for the competition, the complexity and costs involved mean that students are not always able to make the switch. Therefore, the provision of sustainable fuel options ensures that internal combustion engines remain a viable choice for teams in the future, and so that students running these vehicles can continue to benefit from the learning opportunities offered by the competition while meeting requirements for sustainability.

All teams who will be bringing their internal combustion vehicles to the coming competition have already decided on their fuel choices, with 33 teams running the fuels this year.

“We are delighted to be able to offer all teams these fuels for the coming competition” said Naomi Rolfe, Formula Student Project Manager. “At a time when engineers across different industries are making strides toward Net Zero targets, this allows us to contribute toward the goal of reduced carbon emissions and that sustainable fuels and motorsport can go hand in hand.”

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers is grateful for the continued support and assistance from both Motorsport UK and SUSTAIN Fuels and look forward to welcoming all teams to the competition in July at Silverstone.