Driving down costs

The Warwick Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre at Warwick University has built an F3 race car using environmentally sustainable components.

The Warwick Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre (WIMRC) at the University of Warwick has built an F3 race car using environmentally sustainable components, such as vegetables, recycled aluminium, flax fibre and cellulose.

On the back of recent controversy surrounding the high cost of F1, Team WorldFirst is hoping the design will promote a different perspective on green technology that does not centre on exhaust emissions, but instead focuses on low-cost and environmentally friendly materials and technology.

The steering wheel is said to be made from root vegetables, the wing mirrors are derived from potato starch and the wing end plates from cellulose and flax composite. The car’s body is made from recycled lightweight wiring loom and the barge board from 3D woven natural fibre composites. The design also features a biodiesel race calibrated engine and an oxygen-generating catalyst on the radiators that cleans the air as the car moves.

James Meredith, project manager and researcher at Warwick University, said: ‘It has been very exciting working on the project and important for our team to develop a working example of a truly green motor racing car. The WorldFirst project expels the myth that performance needs to be compromised when developing the sustainable motor vehicles of the future.’

Working alongside Meredith, Dr Kerry Kirwan and Dr Steve Maggs have collaborated with equipment manufacturers, tier one automotive suppliers and local small and medium businesses to develop practical and sustainable applications for the materials used in the design.

In addition to minimising environmental impact, Team WorldFirst hopes the concepts used will lead to cost reductions as the recyclable materials become more widespread. Max Mosley, president of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), reinforced this point when he said: ‘In order to survive we need to concentrate on a more ecological motor sport.’