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First ‘net zero’ motorsport event for Bathurst

Challenge Bathurst partners with Greenfleet to plant native forests to offset emissions for Bathurst’s first carbon neutral event with a 10 year commitment from 2021-30 The Challenge Bathurst partners Accelerate Events and the Bathurst Regional Council have selected Greenfleet to plant trees to offset carbon in a move that could encourage a more sustainable approach to motorsport participation in Australia. 

Mayor of Bathurst Cr Ian North said Council was proud to be leading the way with Challenge Bathurst in supporting a greener motorsport event at Mount Panorama. 

“To have the first motorsport event to offset carbon emissions run on the iconic Mount Panorama motor racing circuit is something we are very proud of.” 

“Motorsports is part of the lifeblood of this community. Taking an environmentally conscious approach and running Challenge Bathurst as a carbon neutral event will only add to the long-term sustainability of this event in particular, and motor sports in the longer term.” 

The annual four day event stages a two day Supersprint and two day Modern Regularity format attracting on average 400 cars and drivers and 200 volunteer officials. 

Motorsport Australia praised Challenge Bathurst organisers for taking the initiative and prioritising sustainability for this iconic event.

“Challenge Bathurst and the Bathurst Regional Council should be congratulated for their foresight and environmentally responsible approach to running this amazing event,” CEO Eugene Arocca said. 

“This is a terrific initiative and has the full support of everyone at Motorsport Australia. Sustainability and the environment will need to be front of mind for all of us involved in motorsport as we head into the future, utilising the many innovative and brilliant minds who work in the industry. 

“Motorsport Australia’s latest Strategic Plan refresh outlines our desire to make the environment and sustainability a priority in our short and long term future. We are eager to see similar initiatives rolled out across the country and will work hard to reduce the sport’s overall footprint. This is certainly a significant area of opportunity for the motorsport industry.” 

The event organiser Greg Evans from Accelerate Events did the homework on becoming carbon neutral and claims it was an easy decision to make. 

“The rationale is that carbon offsetting is an immediate and cost-effective way to take responsibility for the environmental impact of the Challenge Bathurst Event. While it’s hard to fundamentally change the amount of carbon emissions, due to the engine type of most cars suitable for Challenge Bathurst, it’s easy to offset the emissions by partnering with an organisation like Greenfleet.” ‘

However, this is also an emotional decision based on our competitor’s desire to do what they love and offset the impact so we can all keep doing this for the next 30 years and more. We don’t have to wait to 2050 to start being ‘net zero’ today. When I realised it cost $5 a competitor to be net zero it’s really a no-brainer. Hopefully the profile of our event will encourage others to ‘google’ organisations like Greenfleet and make their own call.”

As an environmental not-for-profit, Greenfleet is focussed on protecting the climate by restoring forests. Since 1997, Gleenfleet has taken climate action by planting more than 500 forests with over 9.6 million trees across Australia and New Zealand. 

In the Bathurst region Greenfleet has planted Matsubayashi Nojo, which is 45 km south of Bathurst, and a forest called Hillview located in Duramana, which is 25km north of Bathurst. Greenfleet is returning to Hillview in 2022 for further planting. 

Greenfleet’s Victorian founder Henry O’Cleary, initially teamed up in 2000 with Peter Brock (farmer and tree planter), F1 maestro Ron Walker and the RACV, to promote the opportunity for fleet and individual car owners to fund tree planting to offset car emissions. 

The Greenfleet CEO Wayne Wescott was pleased to be renewing the relationship with motorsport. 

“There is a critical need to take action on climate change and we all have a responsibility to reduce our impact on the planet. However, completely reducing your carbon footprint isn’t easy. People come to Greenfleet because they want to take practical climate action, and that’s what we help them do. We commend Challenge Bathurst on the steps they are taking to reposition motorsport for a changing climate.”

About Challenge Bathurst 

The Challenge Bathurst Event is one of five annual events on the famous Mount Panorama Racing Circuit and is staged in November with the 2021 being the sixth event. 

It provides a rare opportunity at Mount Panorama to practice or test on the fully closed circuit and is focussed on ‘sprint’ and ‘regularity’ disciplines. Each discipline has two days exclusively on track, including generous track time. It’s invitation to ‘Conquer the Mountain’ attracts, at the highest level, GT cars practicing for the 12 Hour Race in a Supersprint and a broad range of eligible vehicles in Regularity, from all over Australia, with up to 435 grid spots available. 

About Greenfleet 
Vision 

To become the leading environmental organisation empowering individuals, communities and companies to take tangible, effective and long lasting environmental action, to mitigate the impacts of a changing climate, and to restore degraded ecosystems. 

Mission 

To sequester carbon, in all its practical and economically viable forms, but primarily by planting biodiverse native forests in Australia and New Zealand. These carbon sequestration activities aim to reduce the detrimental impact our environment has endured, and to create a sustainable environmental future, including providing habitat for native fauna. To undertake this in such a way that our supporters and clients feel connected to the environment and are empowered to help protect and restore it, for future generations. 

As an environmental not-for-profit, Greenfleet is focussed on protecting our climate by restoring our forests. Since 1997, Gleenfleet has taken climate action by planting more than 500 forests with over 9.6 million trees across Australia and New Zealand. 

Plantings play a critical role in fighting the impacts of climate change by capturing carbon emissions from the atmosphere and the forests planted by Greenfleet so far will capture more than 3.5 million tonnes of CO2-e over their lifetime and provide additional habitat for native fauna. The organisation has invested in sustainable, protected habitat for koalas and other threatened wildlife for almost quarter of a century, responding directly in areas affected by Australia’s ‘Black Summer’ bushfires of late 2019 and early 2020. 

Challenge Bathurst and Greenfleet 
Why offset carbon emissions?

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges we are facing today. Scientific consensus is that we need to reduce emissions 80% by 2050 (against a baseline of 1990 levels) to stabilize our climate and prevent unprecedented negative impacts on the economy and our climate. Since 1990, transport emissions in Australia have increased by 57%. We have the ability to tackle climate change and still enjoy motorsport. 

A carbon offset initiative is an immediate and cost-effective way to take responsibility for the environmental impact of the Challenge Bathurst Event and to be part of the solution to mitigate climate change. 

Why is this responsible action for a Motorsport Event? 

Burning fossil fuels, like petrol and diesel, releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. While it’s hard to fundamentally change the amount of carbon emissions, due to the engine type of most racing and performance cars suitable for Challenge Bathurst, it’s easy to reduce and offset the emissions relating to the on-track activities of the Event by partnering with an organization like Greenfleet. 

The idea of carbon neutrality means that Challenge Bathurst competitor’s net greenhouse gas emissions are equal to zero, by partnering with an organization that uses offset funds received from organizations and individuals to invest in the Australian environment, to build climate change resilience and strong biodiversity outcomes

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