What opportunities do you see in exploring sustainable fuels and alternative engine technologies?
I think we can assume we'll never be completely independent from some reliance on petroleum-based fuels. It's a really good fuel, from an energy content and performance standpoint. Plus, we've spent 100-plus years refining and optimizing it for this use and a huge and very efficient supply infrastructure. But there are many people working right now on new types of bio-based fuels that can be complete replacements for gasoline or be used as a significant percentage in gasoline, either way having a notable impact on reducing our reliance upon imported petroleum. Thousands of entrepreneurial efforts in this area are currently ongoing and some of them are going to be successful with a great pay-off to both these people and society. Racing can clearly take a lead in this movement by utilizing these low-carbon fuels that's really just at its beginning right now. At the same time, there's opportunity to take these fuels and not only apply them to existing engines but explore their use in other applications, working to extract higher power levels than previously achievable. We've moved well beyond the racer's old 'one horsepower per cubic' goal of the past into probably two or more horsepower per displacement in on-road vehicles. So there's always room for advancement at the cutting edge, and racing can be part of that-applying advanced materials, advanced combustion systems, and engines that are probing the outer limits of what can be achieved.
Racing can be one of the leading forces in this important area, if we don't reduce or prevent experimentation and development on these type technologies.
Absent of any considerations for including green technologies in racing, what do you think the motorsports community will look like in 10 years?
I think that if racing fails to embrace these opportunities, it will eventually become increasingly irrelevant and its fan base will slowly erode. It could even reach a point where it will have to defend itself against substantial public criticism from environmental or energy security groups. None of us want any of that and it's completely avoidable. I worry that this sport won't properly respond to what is a unique position to lead some of the changes we need to make from both national and global perspectives. Not to take advantage of these opportunities could easily undermine the credibility and future of the sport.
Best case, by including green technologies in racing, what do you then think the motorsports community will look like in 10 years?
I think it will inject some new life and vigor into racing while simultaneously providing it new areas of growth and sustainability while controlling costs through closer ties to production technologies. Motor racing is the only sport I know of that has a viable opportunity to take a leading position in addressing critical issues of national security with respect to renewable fuels and powertrain development while simultaneously stemming the impact of climate change for the benefit of future generations. For me, it's an obvious and irresistible opportunity that can only strengthen this sport that we love.
Dr. Jamie Meyer A medical doctor conducting cardiovascular research at the University of Cincinnati who became a Ford Mustang enthusiast, editorial contributor to multiple automotive performance publications, landed an avocational job writing GM's 2006 parts catalog then joined the company helping market crate engines as the Product Integration Manager of GM Performance Parts. His perspectives are blended from those as an enthusiast to more recent experiences at the OEM level, dealing with the marketing of high-performance and racing components and systems.