Penske Entertainment announced several initiatives on Friday that are aimed at reducing the carbon footprint at this year’s 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500, along with efforts to improve sustainability within the NTT IndyCar Series.
Per the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, “These steps are the latest and most comprehensive elements of a long-term strategy for the organization that has been developed over the last two years.”
The announcement comes on Earth Day, with the aid of partnerships alongside Firestone, Shell and others within IMS and IndyCar.
“This will be the most sustainable Indy 500 in our 100-plus year history,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President & CEO Mark Miles said. “Moreover, through excellent coordination and teamwork with partners who are true innovators in this field, we’re moving IndyCar toward industry leadership when it comes to environmental awareness and impact.”
Firestone, the longtime partner and tire supplier of IndyCar, will play a significant role and provide a new eco-friendly for the month of May.
The green-sidewall Firestone Firehawk guayule race tire is set to make its debut at Miller Lite Carb Day for IndyCar’s Pit Stop Challenge, and will make its first-ever competition appearance as an alternate compound for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on the Streets of Nashville in August. The new tire is a mixed compound of natural rubber derived from the guayule shrub, which “requires less reharvesting than traditional sources of rubber.”
“It will take partnership and collaboration to combat the impacts of global climate change, and we are proud to partner with Penske, IndyCar and IMS to advance the future of sustainable mobility,” said Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer and group president, Solutions Businesses, Bridgestone Americas, Inc. “The introduction of guayule natural rubber to America’s preeminent open-wheel racing series speaks to the confidence we have in the technology and its promise as a scalable, sustainable and domestic raw material.”
Additionally, “Firestone, IMS, the state of Indiana and veteran motorsports partner Shell also announced today that all race tires being supplied for Indy 500 practice, qualifications” and day of the race will be delivered to the track from their Central Indiana warehouse using a Freightliner eCascadia from Penske Truck Leasing’s fleet of electric vehicles. To aid the process, a 150kW electric charger will be installed on the IMS grounds, in coordination with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and Shell Recharge Solutions. The EV charging station is manufactured by BTC Power (Broadband TelCom Power, Inc.).
“We’re working every day to make sure Indiana is a leader when it comes to renewable energy solutions,” Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. “I can’t think of a better way to show our commitment to cleaner energy than by putting it on display during the largest sporting event in the world.”
As part of an effort toward cleaner energy consumption and lower carbon footprint, all electricity consumed throughout IMS in May will be purchased via 100 percent renewable energy credits, as it was in 2021.
Additionally, the track has partnered with Shell and CHOOSE, a climate technology company, for implementation of a new customer program that will allow fans to offset their travel footprint through a nominal contribution to the GreenTrees reforestation project. Furthermore, “IMS also will offset its entire operational carbon footprint during the Month of May through its contributions to GreenTrees, a vital effort that restores natural habitats in more than 1 million acres” that spans across seven states in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley.
“At Shell, we aim to provide more and cleaner energy solutions in a responsible manner – in a way that balances short- and long-term interests,” explained Dani Silva, Shell vice president of Enterprise Accounts. “We are very pleased to be a part of Penske Entertainment Corp.’s efforts in increasing the sustainability of motorsports and the off-track potential it also enables.”
Other initiatives of note during the Month of May also include:
- Increased waste diversion efforts throughout the facility with expanded recycling and food recovery programs.
- Legends, the official IMS retail partner, will open a fully sustainable store inside an electric truck. All items sold in the truck will be reusable or designed from recycled plastic bottles.
In 2021, the Indianapolis 500 was certified by the Council for Responsible Sport at a Silver level after achieving 37 social and environmental standards of good practice. IMS will also have “facility upgrades to increase both energy and water-use efficiency, calculated a robust greenhouse gas emissions inventory and enhanced its ‘Bike to the 500’ program.” The goal for IMS is to become the first sports facility in the world to be a Responsible Sport Certified venue.
Also confirmed is that all 26 entries in the NTT IndyCar Series will be transported by trucks that are fueled by renewable diesel at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix as part of an effort to significantly reduce travel-related emissions.
“The NTT IndyCar Series and its partners are continually evaluating ways to lower our footprint and create a more sustainable future,” said IndyCar President Jay Frye. “We’re looking forward to using renewable diesel in our transporters beginning in June and expect to have several more important initiatives to unveil in the near future.”