VSCC trials alkylate fuel Club experiment succeeds on Winter Driving Tests

VSCC trials alkylate fuel Club experiment succeeds on Winter Driving Tests

The race to find environmentally acceptable and feasible ‘pump-ready’ fuels before the political window threatens to close on alternatives to electrification appears to have taken another big step forward. Throughout 2022, leading clubs and players in the classic car world tested a range of synthetic- and bio-fuels from the likes of Coryton and P1. This included Octane running Ecurie Bertelli’s Aston Martin 2 Litre Speed for 1000km on P1 during a Continental rally with no ill effects. CKL and the Historic & Classic Vehicles Alliance, meanwhile, have also carried out extensive testing with the Coryton product.

Also pioneering in this field has been the Vintage Sports-Car Club, which has now taken things a stage further by running ten competitors at its Winter Driving Tests at Bicester Heritage in December on alkylate fuel. Alkylate is generated from the superfluous gases produced in oil distillation and, although still being created from fossil fuel processes, is as clean a petroleum product as can be imagined, being made up of only ten components compared to regular petrol’s 350.

The VSCC explained: ‘In terms of renewable credentials E10 petrol has the edge as 10% of the fuel is renewable, although this can be at the expense of food production. The lower emissions of alkylate, on the other hand, were particularly attractive alongside the potential of using it over long storage periods as it does not “go off” in the same way as E5 or E10 petrol. It is a credit to the Historic motorsport community’s willingness to try alternative technologies, which Club members embraced with gusto.’

Competing in the family Austin Seven, VSCC club secretary Tania Brown was among those who used alkylate and said: ‘My partner and I bought our own fuel, as I feel this is a really exciting opportunity to make a real difference in the future. It is not going to be the final answer but it is an interesting step along the journey to alternatives that are more environmentally responsible.’

The VSCC says it is now committed to investigating the use of fully synthetic fuels in 2023 and making them more accessible to club members and competitors.

Above and left Club secretary Tania Brown trialled the alkylate fuel in her 1930 Austin Seven; Andrew Ames tackled the driving tests at Bicester Heritage.

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