The 2013 Rolex 24-Hour race in Daytona Beach might become famous for its fried chicken–no wait, we read that wrong. Actually, what just might make the Rolex 24-Hour Race famous is the fuel which will be powering the new Mazda6 SKYACTIV-D clean diesel race car: chicken fat.
The fuel is actually waste material from Tyson chicken plants, stuff that would have ended up in a landfill if not bought and used by Mazda in their race car. This is hardly the first time Mazda has sought to turn the spotlight on alternative fuel vehicles. They have a reputation for doing extreme engineering when it comes to alternative fuel powered race cars. Mazda was among the first to put a diesel powered race car on the track, and now they will become the first to put one on the track that runs on leftover chicken.
The idea is sound, and since we have an industrial food complex producing an abundance of waste, it’s renewable. Will we all one day be driving cars powered by chicken fat? Probably not. We don’t foresee the day when we pull into the local Kentucky Fried Chicken to fill our fuel tanks, but are big fans of alternative fuel for our vehicles. Assuming of course we can maintain the performance and reliability we have come to expect from our automobile.
The Rolex 24-Hour race is a grueling, punishing, event which pushes the drivers, engineers and vehicles to their extreme limit. It’s not enough to “go fast and turn left” when you are racing for 24-hours. Your car has to be able to endure maximum speed, hour after hour, for an entire day. During the day temperatures get hot, the track gets hot and the engines get hotter than Hades. At night the temperature drops significantly, and the chill can cause problems all its own.
If Mazda is able to pull off a win, or even just make it to the end of the race, it will not only be a win for their company, but also a win for alternative fueled vehicles.