UK: Trade association says motorsport and vehicle manufacturers should collaborate on energy efficiency

By just-auto.com editorial team | 13 October 2003

The UK's Motorsport Industry Association (MIA) claims the development of energy-efficient automotive technologies would benefit from closer collaboration between vehicle manufacturers and specialist motorsport engineering companies.

"Energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly solutions are now a given in the automotive world, but their effective rollout to the public remains slow," said MIA CEO Chris Aylett.

"Today's motorsport teams are well rewarded for producing vehicles that deploy maximum energy in the most efficient way possible. The bi-product is that motorsport's supplier base has become uniquely equipped to accelerate the creation of, and publicity for, energy-efficient solutions.

"The potential benefits of improved collaboration between the major car makers and UK motorsport are huge. As well as unlocking the commercial potential of innovative new products, these partnerships could draw on the estimated $US1 billion of funding that public bodies around the world make available each year for 'green' initiatives."

Aylett said that motorsport should play a central role in building a better image for such initiatives. "Most of the energy-efficient, low-emissions automotive technologies launched to date have yet to capture the public's imagination.

"The exciting and powerful 'brand' of motorsport could attract public attention and support and offer an unrivalled platform for building widespread enthusiasm and acceptance. Motorsport will make energy-efficiency a must-have customer response."

Aylett suggested there needs to be a clearer understanding of the broader portfolio of technologies and expertise that motorsport organisations can now offer.

"In many cases the focus for energy-efficiency initiatives has been on building or refining powerplants that use alternative fuels. Diesel and LPG cars have already seen success - with more planned for 2004. However, motorsport businesses continue to develop many solutions such as lighter, stronger composite materials, ever-improved aerodynamics, advanced lubricants and regenerative braking systems."

Energy-efficient partnerships between the automotive and motorsport industries would have particular significance for the UK, Aylett said.

"Such a collaboration presents a huge commercial opportunity for the UK, as 'Motorsport Valley' is home to the world's largest concentration of leading motorsport and high performance engineering firms."

The MIA will host a conference, 'Clean Racing: the Role of Motorsport in the Green Revolution', on October 22 at the ICC in Birmingham. The conference is the first of its kind and is expected to attract the major car makers, research bodies, motorsport suppliers and designers.