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Racing Toward Zero: Month of May Takes Major Sustainability Strides

Saturday, May 13, 2023 Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Sustainability initiative

INDYCAR and IMS have taken major strides in powering a more eco-friendly future across the motorsports landscape.

Penske Entertainment unveiled May 12 a number of eco-friendly initiatives aiming to make this year’s Month of May – highlighted by the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge – the most sustainable on record.

In particular, the Racing Capital of the World will double down on its efforts surrounding waste reduction and reusability throughout the greatest month in racing. This includes:

  • A new partnership with Keys2Work to sort and prepare recyclable materials throughout the venue. Keys2Work is an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that helps homeless and justice-involved citizens successfully transition into the workforce.
  • The replacement of all plastic cups in suite and hospitality areas with infinitely recyclable aluminum cups, a partnership with Penske Logistics, Novelis and Ball.
  • A continued and elevated partnership with Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana to reduce food waste and provide for those in need. Last year, during the Month of May, nearly 4,000 pounds of unused prepared food was stored, refrigerated and sent to food banks.
  • An expanded commitment to composting of both food and operational materials. RE317, a local women-owned business will continue hauling food scraps from catering kitchens, suites and concessions to GreenCycle, an Indianapolis composting facility. Additionally, a newly launched program will allow the IMS groundskeeping team to collect and repurpose mixed yard waste from landscaping and mowing.

Retail operations will also reinforce the IMS commitment to a comprehensive focus on sustainability initiatives. New plant-based alternative retail bags have been introduced in all merchandise locations throughout the facility. Utopia Plastix, a local minority and woman-owned business, has partnered with IMS on this effort. IMS also has an expanded line of sustainability-focused merchandise and a mobile, electric-powered retail store that will roam throughout the facility during the month.

“Our organization and our entire sport are extremely focused and exceedingly committed to implementing a thorough and impactful sustainability framework,” said Penske Entertainment Corp. President & CEO Mark Miles. “The Month of May provides a great opportunity to double down on existing efforts and implement new programs that make a meaningful difference in our footprint.”

Both INDYCAR and IMS have taken major strides in powering a more eco-friendly future across the motorsports landscape. This year, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES is using a 100% renewable race fuel, developed by Shell and composed of second-generation sugarcane waste. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES is the only form of competitive racing across North America using 100% renewable race fuel.

The Firestone Firehawk race tires, whose sidewall is made of rubber from the guayule plant, will serve as the alternative race tire in all five-street course races this season. For the Month of May, Firestone and Shell have partnered to create a tire that uses a recycled-attributed butadiene, a monomer produced with recycled post-consumer plastic waste, to create synthetic rubber in the tire. This will be used in all race tires – practice, qualifying and race – during the Month of May.

All these strides and more are recapped in Penske Entertainment’s “Accelerating Change: Racing Toward A More Sustainable, Inclusive Motorsports Industry” report, which was released earlier this morning. It is available here. IMS and INDYCAR both launched sustainability hubs today under the banner of “Racing Toward Zero.” You can visit the IMS page here and the INDYCAR page here.

This year, IMS became the first sport facility to achieve organizational certification through the Council for Responsible Sport (Council). Organizational certification became available for the first time in August 2021. The new standard is based on the recognition of the following core principles: power of sport, resolution of climate change, enablement of social justice and business of sport. IMS was the first sports facility to commit to the new framework, implementing year-round tracking of environmental and social impacts for the more than 300 events hosted at IMS annually.