IndyCar's new Shell 100 percent renewable Shell fuel makes its debut

Marshall Pruett

IndyCar's new Shell 100 percent renewable Shell fuel makes its debut


IndyCar's new Shell 100 percent renewable Shell fuel makes its debut


The NTT IndyCar Series’ big new technological advancement for the 2023 season made its debut on Thursday at the Thermal Club during the opening sessions of Spring Training.

In partnership with Shell, teams are using a new 100-percent renewable fuel made primarily from Generation 2 biowaste.

We are very excited to bring this 100-percent renewable race fuel to the NTT IndyCar Series,” Shell Motorsports Technology Manager Bassem Kheireddin told RACER. “The fuel consists of a significant mix of second generation ethanol that is derived from sugarcane waste. It’s the part of the sugarcane that was previously considered a waste that has been converted to ethanol, hence the name ‘Second Generation,’ because it comes from the landfill portion of the sugar cane is that does not compete with the food supply chain.”

The bulk of IndyCar’s new fuel is supplied to Shell from a partner in Brazil, and with the Gen 2 ethanol in its labs, other components — proprietary items — are mixed in and deliver an approximate octane rating of 100 for the Chevrolet and Honda 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6 motors to combust.

“It comes from our joint venture partner Ryzen, based in Brazil; that’s where the second generation ethanol comes from because they are the largest commercial producer of sugarcane ethanol,” Kheireddin said. “At Shell, we’re of course hoping that at some point this will change and will become available locally as the use of biofuels continue to grow. The second component, there’s another renewable component that is added to the mix to make that 100-percent renewable race fuel that will reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by more than 60 percent across the entire lifecycle of the fuel.”

Chevy Racing and Honda Performance Development have been using the new Shell renewable fuel for months on their engine dynos.

“This obviously has been successfully tested by both manufacturers,” Kheireddin continued. “So GM and Honda successfully passed the performance and durability test and it received their approval. And eventually the NTT IndyCar Series signed it off as a racing fuel. We’re very excited to be part of that journey.”