Innovation. In Pau, motorsport has already gone green
Juan Manuel Fangio, Jack Brabham, Maurice Trintignant, Jim Clark, Jacky Ickx, Henri Pescarolo, Jacques Laffite, Alain Prost, or closer to us, Lewis Hamilton, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sebastian Vettel or Max Verstappen, they all faced each other a day on the circuit of Pau.
An urban circuit of 2,760 km, which crosses the city of King Henri IV. A real popular success too, with an average of 70,000 to 100,000 spectators each year. But is it still possible in 2022 to organize a motorsport weekend in the city centre?
Pau, a pioneering city in new energies
For a long time, the city of Pau has been focused on new forms of mobility. Witness its bus lines operating thanks to a local hydrogen station, the electric shuttles crisscrossing the city center or the Mobility Forum which precedes the appearance of the first racing cars in the city by one day.
The city’s ambition is clear, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. In this first post-covid edition and faced with the increase in environmental issues, the Grand Prix had to evolve, as explained to us by Eric Saubatte, deputy mayor in charge of Sports and elected referent of the Grand Prix.
The green revolution in motorsport
To run in Pau, you have to go green. A message well received by all participants in the race weekend. It starts with the ETCR championship, an electric championship supported by three manufacturers, Alfa Romeo, Cupra and Hyundai. Equipped with four electric motors developing a total of 670 horsepower, these passenger cars provide a spectacle in the narrow streets of Pau.
Throughout the weekend, spectators can also see the futuristic DS E-Tense Performance prototype, or even a Formula E single-seater. .
Alternative fuels as the solution of tomorrow?
The city of Pau is indeed hosting the French FFSA F4 championship, the first international single-seater competition to use 100% renewable Repsol biofuel. A reality that also concerns the queen series of the weekend, the WTCR. This will limit greenhouse gas emissions by more than 70%.
A world championship Formula 2 powered by low carbon fuel is also on the trip. Solutions that are getting closer and closer to our everyday cars. Witness the Twin’Cup race. Fifty-four Renault Twingos, ready to do battle, to the delight of spectators, and which, for the first time, run on E85 bioethanol.
One of the participating enthusiasts told us: “Once converted, the car offers more torque, and a few more horsepower. But above all, we save money. For amateur pilots this is not a detail”. More than ever, the future of motorsport depends on new energies, and on Pau.