Vintage Bentley models have shown us that going green doesn't necessarily mean going electric.
Bentley has announced that it has achieved its first race victory in a pre-war car running on 100% synthetic fuel, proving that these carbon-neutral fuels are a viable alternative to fully electric restomods in the future - and maybe they can even save some of most unique engines in the industry.
Two races of 20 minutes each took place with 21 Vintage Bentleys at the Castle Combe Circuit at the start of this month. The founder of Vintage Bentley, William Medcalf, won both races in a 3 4 1/2 -liter consignment car running only on synthetic fuel.
At the recent Goodwood 80th Members' Meeting, Vintage Bentley - which works only on Bentley models from 1922 to 1932 - also showed off the first three Bentleys to compete on synthetic fuel. Every one of these models managed to finish the Trofeo Nuvolari. Working with partner P1 Performance Fuel, these achievements mark a big step in Vintage Bentley's goal to obtain carbon-neutral accreditation.
The Generations Track Day at the Goodwood Motor Circuit was another opportunity for the classic cars to display their capabilities on synthetic fuel. And, when drawing comparisons to conventional fuel, the team found positive results after diagnostic and full rolling road dynamometer tests.
"What a moment! Claiming first position in any race is exceptional, however, to prove these cars can win powered by synthetic fuel is a game changer," said Medcalf. "Creating significant accolades [for Bentley], particularly the pre-war era, is a great privilege and something that our team at VB can be immensely proud of as we lead the way by using the past to write the future."
Benjamin Cuyt from P1 Performance Fuel also commented on Vintage Bentley's stellar accomplishment, saying that "we can create a better and more sustainable classic car world for generations to come."
P1 has positioned itself as a leader in providing an affordable replacement for fossil fuels, and in a comparison of P1 carbon-neutral fuel with fossil gasoline, the former was able to deliver the same engine power without modification of the engine. P1 also lists Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Hyundai, and Subaru as its other major OEM partners.
Europe's impending ban on carbon emissions does allow for synthetic fuels, but with the extremely limiting proviso that such internal combustion engines can't be run on regular gas either. That would require considerable modification to current engines, and it unfortunately limits the work that companies like P1 are doing.
But with more and more successful use cases for synthetic fuels popping up each day, the chances of the internal combustion engine living on deep into the electrified era will only increase.
As with Vintage Bentley, a large group of classic Porsche 911 models will also be raced at Goodwood later this year, and all will be powered by sythetic fuels.
While states like California do whatever they can to get classic car enthusiasts to go electric, some might be tempted to hold off on such plans in light of the speed at which e-fuels are gaining traction.
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