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New Carbon-Neutral Race Fuel Is Smelly, Irritates Drivers’ Eyes

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#3 CraftSports Motul Nissan Z at Sukuza Circuit

#3 CraftSports Motul Nissan Z at Sukuza Circuit
Image: Nissan

Super GT is introducing a carbon-neutral fuel for the 2023 season, to be used by all the cars in the series. The Japanese sportscar championship tested the new fuel at Motegi on Monday, the day after the 2022 season finale. The 22 cars which used the new carbon-neutral fuel showed little to no difference in performance — there was a pair of strange issues created by the sustainable fuel’s exhaust fumes: a strange smell and eye irritation.

In May, the GT Association and ETS Racing Fuels announced a partnership to make the Super GT the first racing championship in Asia to compete with sustainable fuel. While ETS Racing Fuel currently produces fuel at sites in Germany and North Carolina, Super GT expects to race with carbon-neutral fuel produced domestically in Japan by 2027 after four seasons with imported fuel.

Regarding the 2023 Super GT fuel, ETS states, “ETS Racing Fuels Renewablaze GTA R100 is produced from a number of different sources of sustainable biomass and consists of 100 percent plant-based raw materials. The feedstock is derived from cellulosic material that is converted into hydrocarbons and oxygenates.”

The fuel has performed as expected, but a few unusual issues have emerged. In comments posted on the Super GT’s official website, drivers noted that the exhaust fumes produced by the ETS product has a strange smell. Some chalked it up to it being the first time they used the fuel. However, Motorsport.com reported some drivers experienced eye irritation while following other cars around the circuit. Honda SUPER GT project leader Masahiro Saiki believes the issues are caused by the fuel not fully burning. The fix before next season will likely involve a change in raw source materials in the fuel mixture to ensure a complete burn.

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