Photo courtesy of ETCR

Learn | 11.30.2021

Hemp Is Being Used To Build Race Cars

The plant of a thousand uses.

As we know, hemp is becoming a sought-after material for construction, and the latest use for the plant is for body parts of a race car in Italy.

An Italian engineering team is examining just how effective hemp can be, and they’re now experimenting with hemp-based fabrics for parts of an experimental race car. 

Linificio and Canapificio Nazionale SPA (linen and yarn producer), Fibertech Group SRL (fabric maker), and Barcella SRL (auto parts supplier) have all teamed up to build parts for the new race car, M1RA. The vehicle is a touring car that first debuted on the recently-launched racing circuit for high-powered electric cars, Pure ETCR.

Photo courtesy of Auto Mobil Sport

The engineers are currently designing and building the bodywork’s first version from carbon fiber with additional parts made of Turkish Raso hemp, MJ 404/100, which the three partnering companies developed.

Hemp Today reports the developers praising hemp for its sustainability, lightweight, elasticity, and resistance, making it superior to fiberglass and similar to carbon fiber. The renowned Italian builder for customized cars, Romeo Ferraris, created the 500Kw (680 HP) powered M1RA and based it on the Alfa Romeo Giulia.

Michela Cerruti of Romeo Ferraris told Hemp Today that using hemp fiber for parts of the bodywork shows the company’s continuous hunt for “improvements and innovations for the Giulia ETCR project.” She continued that the new race car, M1RA, will prove the potential of hemp in commercial vehicles while inspiring other industries to use the plant as “a concrete contribution to eco-sustainability.”

Photo courtesy of Auto Tecnica

Many engineers working with hemp say that it can be a less expensive alternative to fiberglass, but the demand from automakers will only expand when these hemp products become more available and are produced faster. 

As of now, some reputable vehicles in the auto industry that use hemp are as follows:

  • In 2019, Porche included hemp and flax car parts in its 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. 
  • Floridian Renew Sports Car prides itself on creating ultra-low carbon footprint vehicles, which is why they developed a car body with 100% hemp composite. 
  • BMW first debuted their electric car, the i3, in 2013 with an interior made of hemp. This reduced the car’s weight by 350 kilograms.
  • Similarly, in 2013, companies like Audi, Mercedes, Chrysler, and Volkswagen all began using hemp-based materials for car interiors. 
  • In 2010, Canada Motive debuted the Kestrel, an electric car with a body composed of polymer resin and hemp fiber. 
  • San Deigo-based Aptera Motors developed a solar-powered vehicle using ultra-lightweight composites with hemp. 

Photo courtesy of Dezeen

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