New rally event is a beacon for sustainable motorsport. Ideal complement to the sustainable cutting-edge technology in the FIA WRC. Rewarding fans for car sharing helps to reduce CO2 emissions.
When the Central European Rally makes its debut from 26th to 29th October 2023, the organisers of the new race on the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar will have struck out in a new direction in terms of sustainability. Against the motto “social, smart, sustainable”, the major event in the region bordering Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic is striving to be a driving force for national motorsport in the three countries. In order to reduce the CO2 footprint of the event, the organisers are implementing numerous measures, such as the use of electric cars for the organisers and the rewarding of car sharing: every fan arriving at the car parks at the various spectator points with other people in their car is automatically entered into a draw, with valuable prizes up for grabs. These efforts are perfectly in line with the WRC’s acknowledgement of just how important sustainability is. In the top class within the world championship, the Ford, Hyundai and Toyota drivers go head to head with the latest hybrid drive systems. They use a mix of highly-efficient turbo engines and electric drive, whereby the combustion engine runs on 100 percent fossil-free fuel. To ensure that the environment also meets the demanding requirements with regard to sustainable behaviour, the rally organisers have put together an international sustainability team, comprising motorsport specialists and environmental experts.
It goes without saying that the focus at the Central European Rally is also on the fascination with the pinnacle of international rallying – many fans from all over Europe will flock to the special stages to follow the action. In order to keep the CO2 emissions caused by all the fan traffic to a minimum, the organisers are encouraging people to share drives. The technology used for this purpose is the “ADAC Pendlernetz” platform, with which visitors can link up and make arrangements via an app for the mobile terminal or via a web app. Those who share drives benefit in two ways: they help to protect the environment and are automatically entered into a draw, with the chance to win valuable prizes.
The system is remarkably simple. For every car carrying at least four people when it arrives at the visitor car parks on the special stages, or at the Service Park, the number of entries into the draw corresponds to the number of passengers. On each day of the rally, three winners are drawn, each of whom can look forward to great prizes. Many other measures are being prepared when it comes to spectators and sustainability – the package of measures comprises no fewer than twelve individual items. It goes without saying that this includes basics like careful waste management and the environmentally friendly configuration of spectator zones. However, the organisers are also making a statement in the field of catering: for example, the 50 or so catering companies in the Service Park and at spectator points are obliged to use recyclable crockery or run a crockery deposit scheme.
Orientation towards international standards
In other fields too, the event’s sustainability team has identified an extensive range of action areas, which have a notable effect on sustainability. As well as spectators and material, the topics of organisation, regional and social value creation, and participants are the other pillars of the sustainability concept. Recognised guidelines, such as the BMU’s (Federal Environment Ministry) Guidelines for the Sustainable Organisations or Events, were used to help define more than three dozen individual measures. The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also formed a cornerstone of the initial considerations for the event, which follows the basic approach of “think globally, act regionally”.
Rallying of the future
The focus is obviously on the WRC1 cars, which are setting benchmarks with their technology. On a national level, the ADAC Opel Electric Rally Cup is also enhancing the programme as the first fully-electric, one-make rally cup in the world. It goes without saying that strict environmental protection measures will be effective in the Service Park in Passau, as well as in all other event areas. They range from the highest standard with regard to the disposal of waste oil and general waste, to the use of sustainable materials – even those used in barrier tape.
Focus on social responsibility
The Central European Rally is also clearly acknowledging its social responsibility. To this end, the subject of inclusion is a particularly important one. The decision has already been taken that many materials, right down to the event prizes, will be made in workshops for people with disabilities. Visitors with disabilities will also be welcome on site: for example, there will be spectator areas designed to meet the needs of guests with limited mobility.
Organisers plan “Road to Sustainability”
Although the event is in its first year, many sustainability ideas and measures implemented at the Central European Rally are already sending out important signals for the national motorsport of the future. The organisers want to build on the experiences gained during the premiere of the event, and to constantly develop their sustainability concept. For this reason, the measures will be monitored closely from the word go, in order to identify room for improvement and transfer this into concrete measures. The road to a sustainable round of the World Rally Championship began with small measures – such as paperless information processes and the organisation of online meetings to avoid unnecessary journeys. This approach will continue on the “Road to Sustainability”, which encourages constant development and improvement, in order to allow the rallying of the future.