Bio Composite Formula 3 Car Steered by Carrots

09 October 2009

October 17th will show whether the gamble taken by a research team at Warwick University has paid off as their environmentally conscious F3 car takes to the track at Brands Hatch.

The car, made from a mixture of composites ranging from off-cuts of plastic bottles, carbon fibre salvaged from the aircraft industry, flax and carrot-based resin is capable of 135mph, despite the fact that it runs from biofuel.

It is thought that this is the first Formula 3 racing car designed and made from sustainable and renewable materials. The car, completed in May this year, met all the Formula 3 racing standards except for its biodiesel engine which was configured to run on fuel derived from waste chocolate and vegetable oil.

“Components made from plants form the mainstay of the car’s make up, including a race specification steering wheel derived from carrots and other root vegetables, a flax fibre and soybean oil foam racing seat, a woven flax fibre bib, plant oil based lubricants and a biodiesel engine configured to run on fuel derived from waste chocolate and vegetable oil. It also incorporates a radiator coated in a ground-breaking emission destroying catalyst.” Said Dr. Kirwan, part of the research team.

According to the team based at Warwick Manufacturing Group, their inspiration came from the recent financially-led turmoil seen in Formula 1. In order to help offer a solution for this crisis, they decided to build what they hoped would be a competitive racing car using environmentally sustainable components to show the Industry just how much is possible using current environmentally sustainable technologies.

Aside from cutting costs, the research team were also quick to point out the environmental agenda of this project. “If you are going to wholeheartedly embrace the ‘green is great’ ethos you have to broaden your vision and have a strategy that stretches throughout the chain from the raw materials to the final disposal of the car,” said Dr.Maggs, who was also involved in the venture. “The project clearly demonstrates that automotive environmentalism can and should be about the whole package,” Dr.Maggs added.

Project Manager, James Meredith, said “It’s 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”

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