If you are a regular reader of this blog, then it should not surprise you to see us talking about recent motorsports events and how they relate to Ecodriving.

Memorial Day weekend has in it one of the busiest Sundays of professional racing for the entire season.  There is the glitzy and glamorous F1 race in Monaco, the famous and daunting 200 lap Indianapolis 500 for IndyCar, and NASCAR races in the Coca-Cola 600 mile evening event in Charlotte, North Carolina.  As in years past, the races came down to some last lap shootouts and the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 were also heavily influenced by fuel use.

That’s right.

Winning at the top level of professional motorsports came down to fuel mileage, again.  And in no event was this more apparent than this year’s Indy 500.

And ultimately it was disciplined driver behavior that helped Dario Franchitti and the Target Ganassi team win the race and enjoy the spoils of the wreath, the milk, the money and the Borg Warner trophy.

Although recently Honda has powered all the cars in the IndyCar series, this year has seen the addition of Chevrolet. The importance of this comes from the performance equation. And the Chevrolet, on paper, appeared to provide better fuel mileage than the Honda. It was the talk of the paddock during the entire month of May, and as such the teams running Bow Tie power were favored to win the 500.

The first half of the race saw many teams playing a conservative strategy to make sure they had a car that would last the event.  In a way, they were practicing sustainability.

With 36 laps left in the race, a critical series of decisions needed to be made, as a full course yellow came out to clean up a crash.

It was known that the Chevy powered cars could last 30 laps under green flag conditions where the drivers were driving at limits of the powerplant’s ability to produce power.  It was believed that the Hondas would not be able to get 30 laps completed with a full tank.  Since the yellow lasted some 5 laps it would likely be 31 laps to the end under green.

How could the Honda cars last those last laps without having to pit for fuel again?

Well, in a word, they would have to Ecodrive.

The drivers would be forced to elevate fuel mileage to their top priority. A faster lap time would mean nothing if the car could not finish the race and would have to pit again. And so, several times, the drivers were told what fuel mileage figure they would be required to sustain to get them to the end.

Fuel mileage is such an important part of motorsports that each of the drivers in many of the top series have in-cockpit telematics that notify them exactly how well they are doing at conserving fuel.  And professional strategists are hired to let the drivers know what kind of fuel mileage they need to be getting to help give them the best chance of winning races.

And so, through driver behavior and with techniques that are just like what we use in Ecodriving, it was a Honda one-two at Indy this year.

You can see your company winning too in the fuel savings race with a little Ecodriving technique and a moderate change in driver behavior.

Ecodriving – it works.


About Mike Speck

Lead facilitator and Master Ecodriving trainer for Ecodriving Solutions.
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