Professional race driver Matt Coffman’s newest sponsor, biofuel manufacturer Thunderbolt Fuel, is the first of its kind in Formula Drift. The new partnership is also part of Coffman Racing‘s well-known interest in being a professional race team that has a zero carbon footprint. For Thunderbolt’s President, Mark Smith, Matt Coffman’steam, Coffman Racing, isn’t the first racing team his biofuel company has been involved with, but it is the first professional racing team he has sponsored.
“I had seen videos of Matt,” says Smith, “but after meeting him and talking to him I knew it was a perfect fit. It just seemed right.” Thunderbolt Fuel, part of Summit Natural Energy, a division of Oregon based Summit Natural Foods, moved into biofuel in 2009 as the company sought efficient and eco-friendly methods to dispose of the waste left behind after manufacturing its food products. “We’re a food company at heart,” explains Smith, “but we learned making biofuel just fit with making things “good” for the planet.
The process involves placing food waste and wastewater into big pots where it is cooked and then placed into large tanks where yeast is added. It becomes concentrated into an alcohol. Smith says creating alternative natural energy is important and that Ethanol from positive renewable sources is what Thunderbolt focuses on. While not (yet) a large part of Summit’s business model, he thinks it helps provide a better world. “Alcohol is very good fuel,” he smiles “and it’s a very clean energy. It’s the Cadillac of fuels. Why else would Indy [the Indy Car series] run on it?”
Coffman Racing Team Manager, Jeff Mailley is equally as enthusiastic, adding, “Matt and the rest of our team have always been committed to a zero carbon footprint. I had initially approached Mark [Smith] about fuel and in only a few minutes he and I knew we shared some common values. We knew it was going to go somewhere.” Smith agrees, adding, “We’re very excited to work with Matt, Jeff and the entire Coffman Racing crew.”
Fans of Thunderbolt Fuel say their engines run cooler and last longer. For Coffman himself, this new sponsorship is about more than winning. “I always want to qualify– and win,” he grins, “but Jeff [Mailley] and I have talked for a long time about why we think it’s important to use biodegradable products on and in the cars. Having Thunderbolt on board is huge for me. And,” he adds,” they’re Oregonians, like me.”
About Matt Coffman
Matt Coffman is a 21-year old professional Formula Drift and stage rally driver, based out of Southern Oregon. With his next 2014 Formula Drift Pro Championship race in Monroe, WA. at Evergreen Motor Speedway, keep up with Matt and all of his adventures and mayhem on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/coffmanracing and by following him on Instagram at @coffmanracing.
About Thunderbolt Fuel
Thunderbolt Fuel is part of Summit Natural Energy, a division of Summit Natural Foods, an Oregon based natural food company best known for its Sisters Fruit Company brand apple chip snacks. You can learn more about Summit Natural Energy here.