Sustainable circuits

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

Professional Motorsport World commissioned a story examining the ways in which motor racing circuits might become more environmentally sustainable. While rule changes have turned Formula 1 and Le Mans cars into test beds for hybrid technology, and fully electric Formula E is winning fans as fast as plaudits, have the circuits themselves adapted to become more green?

I spoke to circuit designers, consultants and engineers from three firms – Apex Circuit Design, Driven International and Aecom – to find out how they have worked with their clients to create more sustainable venues.

Steve Page, president of the Sonoma Raceway in California, home to NASCAR races as well as thousands of grass-chomping sheep, told me about the many inventive measures his organisation has put in place over the past 14 years to minimise the raceway’s environmental impact.

And Vicenç Aguilera, president of Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, described how his circuit became the first (and so far only) F1 venue to achieve the FIA’s Excellence in Sustainability standard.

Key quote
“Motor racing is perceived as an environmentally unfriendly sport. Unless the industry self regulates, the outside influences of government are going to regulate the sport into oblivion”
Clive Bowen, founder and director, Apex Circuit Design