Sonoma Raceway, Dominican collaborate on performance-efficiency metric

SONOMA -- Sonoma Raceway and Dominican University of California today unveiled the result of a months-long collaborative effort to develop a rating system that incorporates automotive performance and fuel-efficiency.

Known as the Sustainable Performance Ranking Metric, the measurement was in development for more than seven months and was produced in collaboration with Dominican's Green MBA program.

The measurement balances sustainability metrics such as miles-per-gallon and emissions with performance concerns like horsepower, torque and vehicle weight.

"When people go to buy a hybrid, they know they'll get good gas mileage, but they don't know much about performance," said John Cardinale, vice president of communications at Sonoma Raceway, earlier this week. "We don't necessarily see it as becoming the EPA standard on Friday, but it shows that you don't have to sacrifice performance for sustainability."

More than 200 were present for the unveiling, held on day two of the second-annual Accelerating Sustainable Performance Summit.

Seven Green MBA students collaborated on the project, along with advising from Paul Erickson, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California at Davis.

The team will continue to gather feedback on the proposed standard and hope to incorporate further data into the calculation, which ranks vehicles on a 10-point scale.

“The vision of the Sustainable Performance metric is to create a new standard in vehicle excellence that values both sustainability and performance and to empower consumers to choose vehicles that balance sustainability and performance,” said Joey Shepp, sustainable programs director at Dominican University, in a statement. “It is also to incentivize automotive manufacturers to optimize sustainable performance technologies."

Full information about the new metric is available at

The annual sustainability summit also featured a number of demonstrations of sustainable racing technologies and high-performance electric vehicles.

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