AE Racing   ALTERNATIVE ENERGY RACING 2014
Santa Pod Raceway
Saturday 29th March 2014
Supported by the
Battery Vehicle Society
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AE Racing 2008 - Report

Alternative Energy Racing took place at Santa Pod Raceway on April 25th, and was the first event held at Santa Pod exclusively for vehicles that didn't use fossil fuels.
 
The event was conceived as an opportunity to bring together anyone in the alternative fuel and electric vehicle industry, and allow them to run together for the first time, to showcase their work and prove that performance doesn't have to be polluting.
 
Biodiesel, bioethanol, vegetable oil, specially synthesized methanol and electric vehicles ran on the ¼ mile dragstrip all afternoon to find the fastest alternative fuel and electric vehicles in the UK.

Electric Beetle
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Electric Beetle
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Biodiesel Truck

The variety of vehicles entered into the event was the first thing that you noticed. From thundering 1,000bhp biodiesel trucks to silent electric motorcycles, and plenty in-between, there was little way of guessing what would top the tables by the end of the day.
 
A large part of the field running represented the biodiesel industry, with Green Fuels UK showing that modern, unmodified cars can run very strongly and reliably on biodiesel with their Golf TDi and VW Toureg. David Lewis from Advanced Fuel Technologies took his striking Alfa Romeo on the track, and the combination of turbo-bio-diesel engine and unique propane injection gave his car lairy performance and very respectable 14-second runs. David also ran his bioethanol Toyota Hilux a few times, its powerful V6 producing some decent times and exciting burnouts!
 
Graham Laming’s Rover 75 was a slightly tamer affair, but no less impressive given that it was running on totally home-made fuel. Graham’s times dropped as he became used to the dragstrip techniques and he eventually ran a creditable 19.3.

David Cabble showed off his Skoda Fabia VRS utilizing his very own single tank conversion to burn 100% vegetable oil and run very respectable 16’s. David was another one who found the dragstrip addictive, running many times right up until the track closed.
 
Dave Jenkins and Matt Summerfield took their huge biodiesel trucks to the track, and ran several times down to an astonishing 14.2, but the strain of the 1,000bhp and huge tyres took their toll on the clutch, and when burning metal hit the tarmac, it was all over and both trucks had to pack up, but it certainly proved that biofuel is no hindrance to power!
 
At the other end of the power spectrum were the three biodiesel cars entered by the Angel VW Club, including Mickey Allen’s Toyota Granvia, Patrick Carr’s Landrover Discovery, and Ian Corbett’s VW T25. All three ran smoothly and reliably on biodiesel, but none could challenge for the top spot with what is best described as “practical” levels of performance!
 
The bioethanol contingent was headed up on four wheels by the two Jap cars of Bio Performance (Nissan S15) and RX Motors (Mazda RX7), with both cars running superb low-13’s on the track, with lively burnouts and endless torrent of revs from both cars.
 
Lotus brought along their beautiful and technically advanced Exige, just pipping the two Jap cars into the 12’s. The car was being tested for Fifth Gear and was driven by racing driver & TV presenter Tiff Needel, and Tiff’s times steadily dropped as he got to grips with the tri-fuel Lotus Exige. The car has been designed to run on petrol, ethanol or synthesized methanol, and although set up with stiff suspension for circuit use, the sheer power available once traction had been achieved hurtled the tiny two-seater to the astonishing 12-second conclusion.
 
The fastest four-wheeler of the day however was the ropey-looking ethanol powered VW Beetle driven by Nigel Hull, who launched the wheelie-popping 50-year old to a quite jaw-dropping 12.3 second run! The flat-four motor running very sweetly on the biofuel.

Electric Beetle
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Electric Beetle
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Biodiesel Truck

 
On two wheels, Bike Magazine started off with 12-second run straight out of the crate with their bioethanol Triumph Daytona 675, and immediately set a standard that was virtually impossible to beat for most of the competitors. Alongside Bike's Triumph, was the Inzane Laverda team, another bioethanol runner, and the two bikes together on the track made a historic pairing: the first time in the UK that two biofuel bikes had run together. Bike magazine’s Rupert Paul was the official rider for the Triumph, but a bit of promiscuity in the saddle meant that it was the Inzane Laverda rider, Russ Joyner who actually set the fastest time of the entire day on the Triumph: an incredible 128.46mph in just 10.8 seconds.

Electric Beetle
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Electric Beetle
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Biodiesel Truck

The electric vehicle class was a two-horse race between the Hungerford VW Club’s electric VW Beetle, and Vectrix UK’s electric powered scooter. Sam Young at the wheel of the VW started off with a wheel-spinning launch and a strong whine as the cool grey bug gathered pace, making many runs throughout the day, and clocking a best of 14.4 seconds at 81 mph, well into the top-half of the table for all vehicles. Mark Loveridge showed how quick the Vectrix scooter could launch, but the bike was deceptively fast as it made almost silent progress to 60mph, where the speed limiter held it from going any faster. The scooter made a superb impression with its build quality and performance that lifted it satisfyingly above some of the internal combustion entries, but ultimately, it couldn’t compete with the power of the purpose-built Beetle with a creditable low 20-second run being the best it could achieve.

Drivers Team Vehicle Energy/Fuel System Time in Seconds Terminal MPH
Rupert Paul + Russ Joyner Bike Magazine Triumph Daytona 675 Bioethanol 10.8738 128.46
Russ Joyner + Ian Calvert Inzane Laverda Laverda 650 Formula Bioethanol 11.9626 110.97
Nigel Hull n/a VW Beetle Bioethanol 12.3069 105.01
Tiff Needel Fifth Gear/Lotus Lotus Exige Bioethanol/Methanol 12.9127 107.68
Tim White + Matt Maclennan RX Motors Mazda RX7 Bioethanol 13.0562 108.8
Nick Mattingly Bio Perfermance Nissan 200 S15 Bioethanol 13.3493 109.91
Dave Jenkins Jenkins Trucksport MAN Racing Truck Biodiesel 14.2319 99.51
Sam Young Hungerford VW Club VW Beetle  Electric 14.4184 81.41
David Lewis Advanced Fuel Technologies Alfa Romeo 156 Biodiesel with Propane Injection 15.0302 95.6
James Hygate Green Fuels UK VW Toureg Biodiesel 15.3325 88.84
Matt Summerfield Jenkins Trucksport SISU Racing Truck Biodiesel 15.3516 95.88
David Lewis Advanced Fuel Technologies Toyota Hilux V6 Bioethanol 16.4058 83.84
David Cabble VOIL Skoda Fabia VRS Vegetable Oil 16.755 80.86
Guy Twinning Green Fuels UK VW Golf Biodiesel 17.5814 78.42
Graham Laming Graham Laming Rover 75 Waste Vegetable Oil 19.3963 70.59
Mark Loveridge Vectrix UK Vectrix Electric 20.3815 62.94
Mickey Allen Angel VW Club Toyota Granvia Biodiesel 20.6355 64.59
Ian Corbett Angel VW Club VW T25 Biodiesel 21.7971 59.6
Patrick Carr Angel VW Club Landrover Discovery Biodiesel 21.9095 58.88
Wayne Dearden n/a BMW 525 Biodiesel no time no speed

A big “thanks” go out to everyone who attended the event, both to watch and to compete. We were delighted at the interest generated by Santa Pod’s first ever alternative fuel and electric drag racing event, and are certain to run the second ever in 2009! Watch this space. Congratulations go out to Bike Magazine for winning the Alternative Fuel Vehicle class with their Triumph Daytona 675, and Hungerford VW Club for winning the Electric Vehicle class. Please visit the websites of each entry to find out more info, and drop us a line if you have an alternative energy project you would like to involve next time around.

Photos of all competitiors at AE Racing are on the Entry List page.