If you can make a World Rally Championship car more environmentally friendly, it deserves a story. Although even the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche are now all working on creating lower emission vehicles, it's a totally different matter when you're "greening" a car designed to win competitions.
Nonetheless that's exactly what Ford of Europe's FIA World Rally Championship programme is doing. Ford says as part of its commitment to "take a leading role within the motor industry in addressing sustainability issues" the company and its rally partner M-Sport have worked out key areas of the Focus RS World Rally Car to reduce its environmental, economic and social impact.
From engine parts to wheels and even paintwork, a total of 17 areas were marked for improvement in sustainability according to Ford of Europe motorsport chief Gerard Quinn.
"We conducted a comprehensive environmental audit to identify ways in which we could better manage our impact. As a result the team undertook research and test work, with the help of our technical partners, and we're delighted with the wide range of areas in which we have been able to lessen our impact. Gearbox components, aluminium and steel engine parts, brake discs and wheel rims can all be recycled at the end of their competition lives while the use of water-based paints and inks on the car's paintwork and graphics reduces the use of hazardous materials." said Quinn.
Work is also progressing in reducing the car's actual CO2 emissions. Mr Quinn says analysis has been carried out in key areas such as air travel, rally car fuel and shipping.
"Make Cars Green aims to encourage a radical rethink in the way cars are considered in society by being at the forefront of encouraging considerate and ecologically sound mobility. That policy extends to motorsport. We recognise that motorsport has an important part to play in the development of new technologies both environmentally and in safety and we welcome Ford's efforts to positively address sustainability issues," Jean Todt, President of motorsport's governing body, the FIA said.
In other related news a group of students from Cologne University of Applied Science have began work to prepare and enter a Ford Focus RS in the 2010 Nürburgring 24-hour race which takes place on May 15 and 16.