Blowers Racing

Spearheading Sports Quality

Can Auto Racing Be Green?

Can Auto Racing Be Green?

An auto racing carnival is a huge event involving far more than simply the vehicle emissions.

  • There are a variety of other vehicles raced that are using traditional fuels.
  • The vehicles run on tyres, use oil in the engines and hydraulics etc etc.
  • This event is a street circuit that also has a look in a park and all the facilities are demountable.  This involves months of building the facilities and pulling them with a carbon footprint in that activity plus the embedded carbon in the infrastructure.
  • The infrastructure in the park gets larger and takes longer to construct and demount each year.
  • There is very large amount of often aggressively driven additional traffic of the supporters.  They are mostly in either huge 4WDs with bull bars everywhere (not sure how many wild bulls we have in inner Adelaide) or they have spoilers and major muffler arrangements
  • Then there is the extra beer consumed – spectators are all carrying large chiller boxes (eskies) as they leave their parked cars
  • The locals who normally commute to the city need to travel around the circuit and sit for long periods in gridlock for approximately three weeks.
  • The are normally a lot of commuters who walk or bike across the park that is now blocked
  • Then there are the aerobatics from a formation of small air force planes overhead and the huge and immensely noisy hornet or F1/11 or whatever it is jet that flies low over the track and nearby suburbs.
  • Let’s not forget the huge plasma screens, the amplified rock concerts every night, lighting and the fireworks.  These are all responsible for large carbon emissions.
  • Increased air conditioner use by nearby residents who can’t leave their windows open because of the noise.
  • A huge marketing budget and activity
  • Air and car travel by all the thousands of interstate visitors

The organisers need to accept more responsibility for these flow on effects and seriously attempt to reduce their carbon footprint before they can claim green.  Any claims at this stage are nothing more than “greenwash” or false and misleading claims which are actually illegal in Australia.

Auto racing is actually a fascinating subject because people, especially men, have always done it and I wonder if it is hard wired in to some people.  2,000 years ago it was chariot racing.  My youngest grandson has been obsessed by toy cars since he learned to sit up.  Now he is crawling, everything is about cars!

Auto racing has been responsible for the development of numerous safety features we now take for granted.  I applaud the 85% ethanol initiative as a demonstration of something that is possible and I hope it is not too long before consumers can run on this mix.  Apparently the drivers have found it difficult to feel the difference between the previously used E10 blend and the E85 mix.

I have always supported large events that help local businesses so long as they are managed well. 

When the Formula One Grand Prix was run in Adelaide my family used to take our major clients to the Grand Prix breakfast each year, which was an astonishing extravaganza of world class entertainment.  I really enjoyed one the one day of the racing I attended in a corporate box with ear plugs and lots of champagne although I suspect that the champagne and general atmosphere was what I enjoyed.  I will confess that I have little real interest in just sitting in a stand or worse, standing along the fence clutching my own refreshments and watching cars drive round and round even though I recognise that many people are passionate about this and real benefits can flow from it.

There is a great deal of work that needs to be done before the word green should be used by the organisers.