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A1 GP to debut biofuel at Taupo

NEWS STORY
17/12/2007

New Zealand has been announced as the setting for the most important environmental initiative in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport's short history.

When the rapidly growing series descends on Lake Taupo for Round 5 of its third season next month, between 18-20 January 2008, it will become the first truly global motorsport body to switch to a 30% biofuel mix.

The cornerstone of an ambitious series of initiatives to help reduce its environmental footprint, A1GP's new fuel, an ethanol based product Hiperflo E30, is sourced from sugar beet in Europe and produced specifically for A1GP by the racing fuels specialist blender Petrochem Carless.

Developed in partnership with Zytek, the series' engine manufacturer, the fuel produces less harmful particulate matter than conventional fuels and will reduce the amount of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. By implementing E30, A1GP will reduce CO2 emissions by 21% per car.

The introduction of E30 was delayed from the start of the season to ensure vehicle performance wasn't affected by the change, but A1GP CEO Pete da Silva says the short wait has only made the switch more exciting.

"Through our THINK greener initiatives we're committed to leading a revolution that helps the planet and safeguards the future of our sport," Mr da Silva said.

"The number one priority is to produce a leading edge series, but we firmly believe we can deliver exciting racing whilst minimising the impact of our operations on the environment."

The New Zealand Prime Minister, Rt Hon Helen Clark, said her country was honoured to be the venue for such an important environmental milestone. "The emotion surrounding the UN climate change conference in Bali is yet another healthy reminder that reducing our carbon footprint is the most pressing issue facing the world and its peoples," Clark said.

"New Zealand has a head start in being clean and green due to our isolation and low population density, but that in itself is not enough to ensure a sustainable future. If we are to maintain and improve quality of life here and abroad the health of our environment has to be factored into everything we do."

The New Zealand round of the global motorsport series has already made an impact in easing its impression on the environment. The ground-breaking recycling initiatives implemented for the inaugural A1GP Taupo in January 2007 were the largest undertaken in Taupo for a one-off event.

Developed in conjunction with Waikato Waste Advisory Service, actions included capturing all recyclable material, limiting glass bottle use, re-using signage and planting trees to help mitigate carbon emissions.

A1GP Taupo CEO Gary Dawson says ensuring a sustainable event was a matter of pride for its stakeholders and the joint focus on the environment has strengthened its relationship with A1GP. "We have a common goal that is of major significance now, but is poised to becoming increasingly important year on year," Mr Dawson said. "It would not surprise me if the steps we're taking now are more appreciated, if not revered, in the future. In essence, we're the acorn. Wait until you see the mighty oak."

A1GP's environmental policy, developed with Ernst & Young, is based on a four-pillared long-term mission to reduce, replace, offset and promote.

Specific tactics over and above the switch to biofuel include waste reduction measures, carbon-offsetting unavoidable emissions and promoting environmental awareness to a global audience spanning 150 countries.

"Our commitment to the environment doesn't stop at the racetrack. We're striving to educate our staff, partners, fans and the community at large about the ongoing fight against climate change," Mr da Silva said. "Millions of people enjoy our races and we believe we can help empower them to consider their relationship with the environment and take action to reduce their impact upon it. Our global reach also gives us the ability to engage with our partners on a worldwide level about their own carbon footprint."

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