Indy Green Flag 500 Waves on Sustainability with High Goals Sports news

Author: MARK LONG, AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – A few meters from the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a redesigned EZ-Go golf cart is parked, which is basically full of rubbish. Plastic bottles thrown into recycling bins months ago are now neatly arranged in rows – and are for sale.

There are hundreds of Indy 500 T-shirts made from waste in the electric wheelchair. The clothes are as soft as anything on the shelves in regular grocery stores and cost about the same. And it’s no coincidence that they get first-class retail space, which is basically located at the front door of the famous racetrack.

They are at the heart of IndyCar’s latest effort to become green, called the “Pensky Initiative.” The series is taking more and more steps – some larger than others – towards a carbon-neutral race by 2050. No, really.

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What may have been considered a ridiculous effort a few years ago now seems like a sensible target, despite the cost of fuel and tires at IndyCar, as well as countless pollutants such as emissions, chemicals and petroleum products. And that doesn’t include the waste that comes with hosting nearly 300,000 fans at the 106th annual Indy 500 on Sunday.

“These are small steps,” said IMS longtime president Doug Boles. “It’s hundreds of seconds for cars.” It doesn’t seem like much, but when you add four or five changes, you suddenly have a tenth of a second. This is where we are. There are many small things that will hopefully have a big impact at the end of the day. “

This includes the suspension of traditional balloon launches due to environmental and wildlife concerns.

Here’s a look at some of Penske Entertainment’s most significant projects to help fight global warming and help it flag the sustainability green flag:

IndyCar will become the first North American racing series to use 100% renewable fuel in its racing cars.

Shell, a longtime fuel sponsor for the Open Wheel Series, on Friday announced plans to switch to low-carbon fuel from 2023. The new fuel will be a blend of second-generation ethanol from sugar cane waste and other biofuels. create a fuel that is 100% composed of raw materials categorized as renewable according to the applicable regulatory frameworks. The oil giant claims that the fuel will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% compared to fossil fuel gasoline.

“You have to be part of the solutions and the way they are through these really strong technology partners,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Penske Entertainment. “Reducing carbon emissions comes from great technology and innovators. We have both. “

Firestone has been working on a renewable tire since 2012 and is approaching the finish line to get it on the track.

The tire manufacturer set up a research center in Mesa, Arizona, ten years ago and hired hundreds of biologists, chemists and botanists to help develop the guayula bush. Guyule produces natural rubber and seems to be the future of racing tires.

About 90% of the world’s rubber comes from Hevea brasiliensis in Southeast Asia. Harvesting these trees and getting rubber back to North America is expensive and creates a large carbon footprint. It is also subject to geopolitical instability.

Guajule is a cheaper, more sustainable alternative that regenerates in about three years and needs about 50% less water than other crops.

Guayule tires, featuring green-painted sidewalls, debuted at IndyCar on Friday during the Pit Stop Challenge. They will receive a more prominent test at the Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, Tennessee in August, when IndyCar uses tires made in part from guayule rubber.

“You don’t want to go straight to the Indianapolis 500,” said Cara Krstolic, director of racing tire engineering for Bridgestone Americas Motorsports. “You want to get there gradually. One of the fun things about racing is that once in a while you show something that ends up in a car that you and I will drive. ”

Penske Truck Leasing used two fully electric tractors to transport all the racing tires used in May from the Firestone distribution center. IndyCar has installed a high-speed charging station in IMS that can fully charge a truck in about three hours. The trucks made six drives to move 12 trailers filled with tires.

The expansion of electric tractors and the installation of additional charging stations could be further steps to save carbon for a series that travels regularly through the country.

In May, IMS installed a pilot program to collect food waste and send it to off-site composting facilities. Prepared and unused food, which would have gone to trash in previous years, is now stored in a refrigerated trailer, which is transported daily to food banks.

However, an electric golf cart filled with recycled clothing has received the most attention in Indy this week. The cart has remained in one place for the last two weeks, but officials plan to make it a mobile marketplace. It has a range of 50 miles and is equipped with an electric generator that drives LED lights and equipment for sale.

Each shirt is made in part from 6½ plastic bottles and uses water-based inks. There are five designs, priced between $ 32 and $ 35.

“When people get up there and feel a T-shirt, they can’t believe it’s made of plastic bottles,” said Raeann Suggs, chief buyer of goods for IMS and IndyCar. “I would say, ‘I’m not buying a shirt made of plastic bottles. It’s going to be a waste! “But it’s literally a waste that’s amazing.”

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