PIONEERING GREEN TECHNOLOGY: WIN-WIN FOR THE AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES
Where else can you find a motorsports series that maneuvers premier racecars and pioneers green technology? The American Le Mans Series is the only of its breed challenging manufacturers, teams and drivers to take that extra look under their hoods. For Paul Drayson, owner/principal of Drayson-Barwell, the decision to race competitively while testing alternative fuels on the racetrack to support this new life of endurance racing was an easy choice.
As one of the true believers in the future of alternative fuels, Drayson runs an Aston Martin Vantage GT2 on cellulosic E85. Educated in bio-technology, science and engineering, his passion merged with politics several years ago. He's also known as Lord Drayson, a former member of the British House of Lords and named two weeks ago as Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Minister of Science.
Nearing the end of 2007, Drayson asked the Prime Minister to take a year leave of absence from his responsibilities to participate in American Le Mans Series - the reasoning was a concern over energy. "There is some worry that this mass concern over energy is the flavor of the moment," Drayson said. "I think they are fundamentally wrong."
Leading by example, Drayson is furthering his education one day at a time. Throughout his day on Wednesday, he filled his agenda with a test ride of a hybrid, a pit stop demonstration vs. Corvette Racing running his cellulosic E85 racecar, and finishing off with a speech to the Western Automotive Journalists: Fall 2008 Classic on Future Fuels and Propulsions Forum.
"I'm a family man with five young kids." Drayson humbly began his speech. "I see the effects of climate change and I want to integrate solutions in my racing. ... When I first told people that I run an Aston Martin off of wastewood products, they said, 'Oh, they must not be too serious about the competitive aspect of the sport.' But, when we put the car on pole, it proved that you can be competitive and run innovative technology. The American Le Mans Series had this vision to perform and practice energy conservation. It was a win-win decision for me."
Much of this belief in the prosperous future in the automotive industry came from personal experiences while in office. "Working with the government, I was responsible for defense development. We had to send troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, and our industry wasn't fast enough to react. In 23 weeks we had to build, through research and development, new prototypes that would ensure better protection for the vehicles we sent overseas and therefore ensuring better protection of our men."
In just a short time, Drayson helped apply this new automotive technology; he saw success in a high pressure environment.
After finishing second in the GT class portion of the Green Challenge, a race-within-a-race at Petit Le Mans, his quest continues to make advancements during Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patron from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca starting at 2:45 p.m. PT today.