I feel before I get into the meat of this article (pun absolutely intended), I should clarify that I am not a vegan and I am an advocate of noisy internal combustion engines and using them to go quickly around race circuits and other such facilities.
As talks of all petrol and diesel cars being banned in the UK by 2040, emission reduction targets failing to be met and extinction rebellion lining the streets of London, the idea of hundreds of petrol powered race/rally cars being thrashed around every weekend seems increasingly unfeasible. In response to this we've seen the world of Motorsport taking action, the use of Hybrid technology in Formula 1 and the World Endurance Championship, the creation of Formula E, and plans for Hybrid Technology in the World Rally Championship. However much of it has been met with criticism from 'purists,' claiming that it's taking the soul from the sport.
So is attempting to make Motorsport more environmentally friendly really the best approach?
In a recent study conducted by environmental scientist Dr Joseph Poore of Poore Nemecek 2018 Science, it was found that if every person in the UK switched just one meal per week from red meat to a plant based alternative, it would cut the countries greenhouse gas emissions by 50 million tonnes, which is equivalent to taking 16 million cars off the road.
My point is this; if as a nation we can show a notable decrease in emissions from the meat industry, plus a potential increase in electric vehicles/decrease in petrol and diesel vehicles on the road, then maybe the Motorsport world will be allowed to continue to embrace the internal combustion engine without criticism from environmentalists. If 16 million petrol/diesel cars were removed from Britain's roads, no one's going to be upset with us racing them for the weekend.
Recently, Lewis Hamilton came under fire for his suggestion that turning vegan is 'truly the only way to save our planet,' being labelled a hypocrite seeing as he drives racing cars for a living and takes a private jet around the world hundreds of times a year. This is true to an extent, but he's not entirely wrong, and if you're going to cause that sort of damage to the environment for your job, it can only be a good thing to attempt to counter some of it by resorting to a plant based diet, right?
What I'm suggesting is that we don't need to make race cars electric to save our sport, but if things continue the way they are, it may just end up happening. If as a nation we can sacrifice animal products for at least a day a week, as well as potentially embracing electric vehicles on our roads, we stand more of a chance of having the opportunity in future to enjoy the aspects of motoring we all fell in love in the first place.
If eating tofu and drinking almond milk for one day a week means I can still witness a BDG MK2 Escort hurling through a rainy Welsh forest on full opposite lock, or see a Shelby Cobra rumbling around Goodwood on a four wheel drift, then I'm willing to take the hit.