Following a trial this year, all vintage race cars at the 2024 Goodwood Revival will run on sustainable fuel.
Goodwood will require competitors at the 2024 Revival to use a fuel with a minimum of 70% "sustainable components," in accordance with current FIA requirements for sustainable fuel, organizers said in November. The fuel requires no modifications to cars and doesn't affect performance, organizers claim, but does theoretically have lower overall emissions associated with it than conventional gasoline.
Sustainable fuel was trialled at the 2023 Goodwood Revival with the Fordwater Trophy race, which featured a grid of pre-1966 Porsche 911s all running the fuel. Drivers included 2009 Formula 1 champion Jenson Button, nine-time F1 race winner Mark Webber, and Goodwood Hill Climb record holder Max Chilton. Four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel also drove two vintage F1 cars—an ex-Nigel Mansell 1992 Williams FW14B and an ex-Ayrton Senna 1993 McLaren MP4/8—on sustainable fuel at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
"What's exciting about these fuels is that they can guarantee the future of historic racing," Button said in a statement, "enabling us to enjoy combustion engine cars for years to come."
2023 Goodwood Revival, Michael Shaffer photo
Keeping combustion engines alive in the face of tighter emissions standards is the goal of sustainable fuels. Germany in 2022 sought an exemption for vehicles running sustainable fuels to planned European Union emissions rules that would otherwise ban sales of new combustion-engine cars by 2035. And F1 aims to introduce a sustainable fuel in time for the 2026 season that will allow it to claim carbon neutrality.
Sustainable fuels are synthetic, with potential sources including biomass and carbon-capture technology. Porsche is testing the latter with a pilot plant in Punta Arenas, Chile. Here, a wind turbine produces electricity, which is used to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then combined with carbon dioxide from the air to produce methanol. The methanol can then be used to create synthetic fuels equivalent to gasoline or diesel, as well as kerosene for aviation. Whether this process can be fully scaled up—and whether the resulting fuel will be cheap enough—remains to be seen, however.