Bahrain Raid Xtreme (BRX) will be the first major motorsport team to compete with a new generation of advanced sustainable fuels in the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, when it takes on the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge later this year, followed by the Hail rally and then Dakar in 2022.
Prodrive has developed a new sustainable fuel over the past eight months in conjunction with Coryton Advanced Fuels. Called Prodrive ECOpower it meets the latest FIA regulations and has been specifically developed to demonstrate the environmental benefits of the latest sustainable fuel technology. The main components are generation 2 biofuel manufactured from agricultural waste and efuels created from carbon capture. As a result, the fuel offers an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to equivalent petrol.
The fuel has been developed using the Hunter’s 3.5l V6 turbo engine on Prodrive’s advanced transient dyno at its headquarters in the UK and the new Prodrive Hunter T1+ has begun an extensive test programme running on the new fuel.
BRX team director, David Richards, said: “I am a great advocate of motorsport taking the lead in developing, proving and promoting new technologies that can help address climate change. The Dakar and the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies are the perfect environment to showcase the benefits of the next generation of sustainable fuels and demonstrate that they can be used in road vehicles to reduce the use of fossil fuels, while still offering the same performance and range.”
While Prodrive ECOpower has been developed for motorsport use, such sustainable fuel can be used as a direct replacement for unleaded petrol and the company is planning to run a near identical fuel in a number of its road vehicles to further prove out the technology.
Coryton CEO, Andrew Willson, said: “Coryton has a long history in blending bespoke fuels for the motorsport industry, and to further support our customers evolving needs, we’ve recently launched Sustain, our new sustainable fuels offering. We knew that partnering with Prodrive would be an ideal way to test our capability in some of the world’s most challenging racing environments, alongside some of the finest engineering expertise in the industry.”
Nani Roma is the first to drive the new Prodrive Hunter T1+ designed to meet the new regulations. The car runs on larger tyres, with increased suspension travel and a wider track. 37” tyres on 17” rims, replace the current 32” tyres on 16” rims, with suspension travel increased from 280mm to 350mm and the body width increased from 2m to 2.3m to accommodate this. These changes have necessitated a radical redesign of the car and Prodrive has used it as an opportunity to make further improvements, such as improved visibility.
Roma said: “Even though the car is wider and heavier than the T1, it feels just as agile. The new suspension and tyres are better in the rougher conditions and the bigger windscreen is a great improvement for visibility. I am really happy about how it felt and I am looking forward to getting more time behind the wheel in the coming weeks in the Middle East.”
The BRX team has completed an initial test programme in the UK and is now heading to the Middle East for more extensive endurance work in the same conditions it will experience in the Dakar. The team will then compete at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and Hail Rally before heading to the Dakar.