The Endpoint: Sustainable race car

Crop Gear

29 June 2009 00:00  [Source: ICB]

Anyone with an appetite for fast cars should feast their eyes on this

You might think that a university extolling the virtues of combining a few nuts, potatoes, carrots and a dash of oil would be promoting a revolutionary new casserole with unprecedented health benefits.

But you'd be mistaken; this is not about some new delicacy, it's a list of ingredients for a 135mph sustainable racing car - the first of its kind.

This automotive taste sensation is the brainchild of researchers at the Warwick Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre (WIMRC) at the University of Warwick in the UK.

The WorldFirst Formula 3 racing car is lovingly crafted from sustainable and renewable materials and aims to dispel the myth that the motor industry and competitive racing are synonymous with inefficiency.

Rather than concentrate, as so many other green projects do, solely on minimizing the harmful emissions from the vehicle's exhaust, this one has made a concerted effort to make the entire car an example to follow.

From the composite steering wheel made from carrots and other root vegetables, to the potato starch wing mirrors, plant oil-based lubricants and a seat made from flax fiber shell, soybean oil foam and recycled polyester, it's all taken only a year to come to fruition.

The WIMRC team says that it is even developing brakes that use cashew nut shells.

Aside from the foodstuffs, recycled plastics and bottles featured throughout the vehicle's bodywork, recycled carbon fiber is used for the engine cover. Even Germany's BASF has come onboard with its innovative oxygen-generating PremAir catalyst that cleans the air as the car speeds round the track.

Unfortunately, however, it's all a little too forward thinking for the racing authorities and it appears that the car is unlikely to race anytime soon. It complies with Formula 3's multitude of regulations except one; the biodiesel engine that runs on fuel made from waste chocolate and vegetable oil is currently ineligible.

Despite this minor technical hitch, I've no doubt that it won't be long before the WorldFirst car will be setting the pace for all vehicle manufacturers and justifiably lapping up the praise.

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By: Andy Brice
+44 20 8652 3214

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