The championship fights for both the prestigious MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge environmental competition and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Prototype and GT titles have an ironic twist. The top teams in the battle on the track are the same teams fighting for season honors in America’s premier environmental competition.
“To win an ALMS championship or to win the MICHELIN GREEN X Challenge, a team must be very efficient,” said Silvia Mammone, Michelin motorsports manager. “Through the first 26 races of the MICHELIN GREEN X Challenge, we have seen 24 of the 52 award winners also win their respective class on the track.”
Heading into the eighth and penultimate round of the 2011 ALMS season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Sept. 17), the Benicia Calif.-based Muscle Milk Team Aston Martin squad of Greg Pickett, Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr holds a slight edge over rivals Dyson Mazda Racing and drivers Chris Dyson and Guy Smith.
The Muscle Milk team reeled off five consecutive victories in the competition measuring clean, fast, and efficient performance under a formula established by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and SAE International. That string ended at the recent Baltimore event.
“Winning the MICHELIN GREEN X Challenge at Baltimore was more important to us than even winning the race,” said John Doonan, Mazda North America motorsports director. “As a small-car company, we work to do things efficiently, which includes producing highly efficient small displacement engines. Winning the MICHELIN GREEN X Challenge is a huge deal for us.”
The victory was not only the first in the MICHELIN GREEN X Challenge for Mazda, but also the first for a team using Isobutanol fuel and for the Dyson team, which currently leads the ALMS Prototype standings.
In the GT category, the BMW Team RLL leapt to the top of the ALMS standings, reeling off victories in the first three races of the season, but Corvette Racing has a victory and three MICHELIN GREEN X Challenge wins in the past four events to stay in the title fight both on the track and in the MICHELIN GREEN X Challenge.
The MICHELIN GREEN X Challenge champions earn automatic invitations for entry at the 2012 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.