Guy Smith may have finished seventh on the road in the annual Petit Le Mans race on Saturday (26 Sep) but the Yorkshireman "won" the race for cleaner fuels of the future. Smith's BP Lola-Mazda Coupe contested the 1,000-mile race at Road Atlanta...
Guy Smith may have finished seventh on the road in the annual Petit Le Mans race on Saturday (26 Sep) but the Yorkshireman "won" the race for cleaner fuels of the future.
Smith's BP Lola-Mazda Coupe contested the 1,000-mile race at Road Atlanta running on advanced biofuel developed by BP combining petrol, ethanol and biobutanol for the very first time.
Being an experimental exercise, Smith's American co-driver Chris Dyson started their Dyson Racing Lola was requested to start from the back of the 30-car grid by race organisers and was ineligible for points in the scheduled near 10 hour race around the 2.54-mile track in Georgia.
Guy commented: "The American Le Mans Series has always been about innovation while Mazda and BP have a commitment to using motorsports to test and prove clean technologies.
"It's fascinating to be on the cutting edge of technology that will end up on the road one day. We're looking at the bigger picture and forward to next year. It's new fuel technology and very relevant to what this series is trying to do with alternative fuels.
"It's cutting edge and that's what this series is all about. We are very excited about the new rules package for next year and the opportunity to race for the overall victory again. It's the way it should be."
Despite utilising its new power source combined with ever-changing weather conditions, Smith and Dyson were placed a stunning seventh overall and the first car home in the LM P2 category when the race was stopped after 184-laps after weather conditions deteriorated on the four-hour mark.
After a delay of almost four hours, organisers decided not to re-start the event due to unsafe track conditions which in any case was limited to 10 hours in duration.
Guy added: "It was a good race for us. Had our car been eligible, Chris and I would have actually won the LM P2 category for the first time this season but it was important for the future to run the car in this configuration and of little consequence we didn't score points as we're out of the title hunt.
"The conditions were bad with a lot of standing water in places. It was the correct decision not to continue."
Smith brings down the curtain on his 2009 ALMS season by contesting the 10th and final round of the series at Laguna Seca which again races into darkness. The 2.238-mile, 11-corner circuit is home to the world-famous "Corkscrew" series of bends.