Circuit of The Americas™ is not only a hotspot for fast Formula 1™ races, but also a proving ground for some of the most advanced technology in energy conservation. Not only did Circuit of The Americas™ play host to the Formula Sun Grand Prix, a race among solar-powered racing cars, in July, but it also serves as the playground for the extreme technological innovations of Formula 1™ racing.
If you’ve dreamed of fully solar-powered vehicles (I wish for one every time I gas up my car), you should check out the Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP). Teams from all around the world bring the sun-fueled vehicles they’ve developed to test their limits and prove their eligibility to compete in the American Solar Challenge (ASC), a cross-country test through North America. According to the ASC’s website, the goal of the challenge is “to test the reliability and endurance of all solar car systems.” The solar-powered car of the superior team in 2015 averaged a speed of approximately 45 mph around the Circuit of The Americas™ track – pretty impressive!
While a fully-powered solar car coasting down a public highway probably isn’t feasible given the facts that a battery can only store so much energy and weather can be unpredictable, this technology can be combined with other forms of alternative energy to generate vehicles that are entirely non-dependent on gasoline. Though it doesn’t appear that Formula 1™ has attempted a foray into harnessing solar energy, the highly intelligent minds behind the science of F1™ have come up with a number of ways to conserve precious energy and lengthen the amount of time between pit stops.
The Power Behind Formula 1™
Formula 1™ is an extremely technologically advanced sport, and recent developments have only furthered that. Only a few years ago, F1™ cars were built from exclusive materials and even utilizing some aerospace industry processes in manufacturing, but the internal combustion engine was their sole source of power. Fast-forwarding to 2015, however, makes those days look almost medieval. An F1™ car is no longer powered only by an internal combustion engine. Now, there are six total sources from which a vehicle can derive its energy: the internal combustion engine (ICE), turbocharger, Moto Generator Unit-Kinetic (MGU-K), Motor-Generator Unit-Heat (MGU-H), Energy Store (ES) and control electronics.
Image courtesy of Formula 1™
Having so many methods of conserving energy takes stress off of the engine and increases the efficiency of the vehicle tremendously. The Energy Recovery System enables the vehicle to use roughly 35% less fuel – this system stores heat energy from the exhaust and brakes that’s typically not utilized. The ERS is made up of the MGU-K and MGU-H as well as the ES and control electronics. The MGU-K collects heat from braking, converts it into electricity and can also serve as a motor when accelerating. The MGU-H harvests heat from exhaust and transforms it into electric energy.
Formula 1™ cars are not only fast and beautiful, but they’re smart, too! Just try to imagine the insane amount of computing that needs to take place as the vehicle gathers data and follows equations in an attempt to respond appropriately given varying conditions. All of these processes have to be managed somewhere, and this is yet another aspect of Formula 1™ that makes it a different breed from any other sport.
Attend the FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX™
This is where the real Formula 1™ action happens – at Circuit of The Americas™ in Austin, Texas! See these complex and innovative vehicles put to the test as they compete on one of the most exciting and challenging tracks in Formula 1™ racing. Circuit of The Americas Experiences packages offer VIP access along with the option to add accommodations and upgrade to Legends Club hospitality! Some of the exclusive insider extras that our packages offer are an in-circuit track shuttle, an exclusive fast access pass and an autographed photo of famed F1™ driver Sergio “Checo” Perez.
Go all-out with our VIP Trackside Skybox Package, centered in an open-air, covered viewing platform with an up-close view of the starting line, all the pit action and the battle for pole position into the signature 133-foot climb to Turn 1! You’ll also have the opportunity to meet two-time F1™ World Champion, Mika Häkkinen, and upgrade to full trackside hospitality with a special appearance by F1™ driver Esteban Gutiérrez!
A number of our packages have already sold out, so don’t wait to reserve your spot at the 2015 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX™!