BorgWarner presented its annual award for innovation at the Indianapolis 500 to the three engineers from Shell/Pennzoil who developed the new 100-percent renewable fuel that has powered the entire NTT IndyCar Series field since the onset of 2023.
The Louis Schwitzer Award was given to Selda Gunsel, Ph.D., Bassem Kheireddin, Ph.D. and Jung Fang, Ph.D. in a ceremony held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, with Kheireddin receiving the award on behalf of his colleagues and company.
“It’s been an incredible feeling of pride,” Kheireddin told RACER. “We just found out this week about getting the prestigious Louis Schwitzer Award, and for me, as an engineer, this is truly an honor to be named, to join the previous recipients of this award that have left the permanent mark on the field.
“And really, this award is a recognition and a reflection of the countless scientists and engineers that have worked many hours to tackle the challenges that come with the formulation that is powering the NTT IndyCar Series. We are humbled and honored and proud of this achievement.”
Having spent a considerable amount of time in the lab making and testing the renewable fuel, which is made mostly from second-generation biowaste, Kheireddin says the first formula given to Chevrolet and Honda and its teams to use in pre-season testing is the same being used—without any minor changes — at the Indy 500.
“We’ve had five races and the formulation will not change this season,” he added. “And that’s speaks to the confidence of the development process that we’ve gone through. When we work with the racing engineers from Chevrolet and Honda, the formulation has gone through a series of performance and durability tests to simulate what would happen on the racetrack, and so what we’re seeing today, after five races, is further validation to the reliability of the 100-percent renewable race fuel
“And we’ve been very happy to hear from the drivers as far as feedback on performance. The biggest testimony that I’ve heard from the drivers all across the board is that they did not see a change in performance, so that that speaks volumes (about) the formulation.”