Rally on the road to sustainability

Rally on the road to sustainability

Sustainability is not just a trendy slogan for Škoda. It is a mission and a commitment to go down a responsible and clean road. And this applies to Škoda Motorsport as well.

6. 12. 2023 Lifestyle

“One way that we safeguard the future of rallying is by helping it become sustainable.” This was the motto of a recent workshop where Škoda Motorsport and partner companies and organisations shared their experiences of the path towards more sustainable racing.

“The main focus today is on sustainable fuels. This brings not only a competitive advantage, but also a commitment to technological progress in order to protect the environment,” stated Peter Thul, Sports Director of WRC, the World Rally Championship’s promoter.

Fossil-free fuel and electricity

Škoda Motorsport, which operates as a supplier of rally cars and spare parts to private teams, has been making progress towards sustainability for several years. The current Fabia RS Rally2 competition car uses several sustainable solutions. In addition to an engine and fuel system adapted to use fossil-free fuel (the official petrol of the World Championship series), the use of biocomposite for some parts of the car is being tested, as is the use of fossil-free lubricants in the shock absorbers, gearbox and engine. 

World Rally has used fossil-free fuels since 2022. Škoda Motorsport is also testing fossil-free lubricants (pictured).

In the 2022 season, in which fossil-free P1 fuel has already been introduced, Škoda racing  cars produced 118.8 tonnes of CO2 less than they would have with conventional fuel. In this respect, Škoda Motorsport is following the global trend. By switching to non-fossil fuels, all cars participating in the World Rally Championship saved around 415 tonnes of CO2 in 2022.

The WRC competition promoter is also contributing to a greener planet by limiting the transfers of TV crews to overseas events. Now smaller crews go out to these events, with post-production facilities operating centrally in Europe. In 2019, this saved twenty per cent of the staff from travelling thanks to video processing at the London headquarters. And in 2023, the first time the entire post-production process for overseas ventures was handled in Helsinki, the total weight of transported material fell by more than half, with generators’ fuel consumption down by more than a third.

The Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 is a popular rally car.

The Czech team is even implementing electric propulsion for competition cars. Together with Austrian electric drivetrain supplier Kreisel Electric, it developed the fully electric Škoda RE-X1 Kreisel competition car, which made its racing debut in 2021. Škoda Motorsport is currently working on an Enyaq Racing electric rally car concept.

Sustainable headquarters

Škoda Motorsport’s headquarters in Mladá Boleslav is also contributing to sustainable operations. The building meets the second highest level of energy efficiency: its windows coated with SunTek reflective films reflect up to 73% of the sun’s rays, which brings substantial energy savings. In the future, the plan is to save up to 30,000 litres of drinking water annually for outdoor irrigation by replacing grass with plants that thrive in drier conditions.

Other eco-friendly measures include using “INKA” pallets made of pressed wood savings instead of traditional wooden ones and using paper filler in cardboard boxes – halving the volume of plastic bubble wrap used.

DSC5673_4a8490cb_11db5960Sustainable and recyclable – modern INKA pallets are made from pressed wood shreds.

The issue of sustainability is increasingly important to us as a society – and it is also increasingly important to motorsport. Sustainability is one of the pillars of our future strategy. Instead of focusing solely on engines and drivetrains, we take a holistic approach. This should take into account innovation as well as financial considerations and should represent a benefit for the customer. Rally sport places great importance on sustainability and the Škoda brand is a prime mover of this trend. We are already working on the next steps and I am confident that we will also achieve them in conjunction with motorsport,” said Johannes Neft, Škoda board member for technical development.

The joy of fossil-free driving 

P1 Fuels, a German company founded in 2018, is now one of the world’s leading manufacturers of fossil-free fuels. Its vision is “a fossil-free future in which fossil-free mobility and a pleasurable driving experience coexist”. The aim of this fuel is to drastically reduce greenhouse gas production – after all, 41% of CO2 emissions come from passenger car transport. The advantage of P1 fossil-free petrol is that it works in any combustion engine. The performance it delivers is identical to conventional high-octane petrol. P1 Fuels is now participating in its sixth motor racing season and is the exclusive fuel supplier to the FIA World Rally Championship for the WRC1 and WRC2 categories. The company’s long-term plan is to build a large production facility and get this type of fuel into the mainstream motoring community.