The American Le Mans Series announced today that Michelin will entitle the Green Challenge award for 2009. Teams to Receive Michelin® Green X® Challenge Award Each Race.

The American Le Mans Series, the global leader in green racing, announced today that Michelin has entered into an environmentally-conscious partnership to entitle the Series' coveted Green Challenge award presented to race teams at each race. Beginning at the 2009 season opener in Sebring, two teams - one prototype and one GT - that demonstrate the best overall performance and fuel efficiency with the least environmental impact will win the MICHELIN® Green X® Challenge award.

Michelin, the world's leading tire manufacturer, has been a global leader in environmental issues for well over a decade. Eleven years ago, it created Challenge Bibendum, the world's premier event for clean vehicles. Three years ago, it created the Michelin Energy Endurance Challenge at the world's most famous auto race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in 2008 extended that award to all of the races on the European-based Le Mans Series.

The announcement was made in conjunction with the Washington Auto Show where the American Le Mans Series will join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy in a press conference tomorrow addressing the need of motorsports, private enterprise and government to work closely together in order to promote cleaner, more energy efficient technologies and to then transfer such innovations to consumer vehicles.

"There is no better company with which to associate the Green Challenge award than Michelin," said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. "It is the leader in the tire industry on environmental issues - with its manufacturing techniques and with leading-edge energy efficient tires. Michelin's technical innovations have set the benchmark worldwide.

"Michelin has been a cornerstone partner of the Series since our beginning and has worked diligently with us and many of our teams to demonstrate an unparalleled level of competitiveness, innovation and success, on and off the track," added Atherton. "Having a partner who recognizes the urgent environmental and energy efficiency needs within the transportation and motorsports sectors has never been more important. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Michelin as we aggressively work to advance our global leadership position in green racing."

Michelin will present the MICHELIN® Green X® Challenge award at each 2009 American Le Mans Series race to the prototype and GT teams scoring best in the three aforementioned criteria. At the end of the season, the EPA and DOE in conjunction with SAE International will present Green Challenge awards to manufacturers in each class who have scored best during the entire season.

"We applaud the efforts of the American Le Mans Series for providing a platform like the MICHELIN® Green X® Challenge to showcase a variety of environmental technologies in racing," said Scott Clark, COO, Michelin Americas Small Tire. "Michelin has always transferred technology from the track into winning performance for everyday consumers. Nowhere is that more evident than in the MICHELIN® Green X® Challenge.

"Stretching fuel in competition wins races. Lowering fuel consumption for consumers stretches wallets at a time when saving money and saving the planet are both top concerns," added Clark. "Sponsoring this key environmental competition is a natural fit for Michelin and together with our partners, we can help encourage teams and manufacturers to demonstrate a cleaner, more fuel-efficient way to race, while maintaining performance and the spirit of competition."

The EPA and DOE in concert with SAE International recognized the American Le Mans Series in January, 2008 as the only motorsports entity to meet their criteria for green racing. Every race car in the American Le Mans Series competes using one of four "street legal" alternative fuels: clean sulfur-free diesel, E10, cellulosic E85 ethanol or gas-electric hybrid. "Street legal" refers to alternative fuels that can be purchased by the consumer at local fuel stations.

The Green Challenge was created jointly by the EPA, DOE, SAE International and the American Le Mans Series, using a system by which all cars were ranked according to: amount of energy used, greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted and amount of petroleum displaced. Argonne National Laboratory created the rules, regulations and technical specifications for the competition.

The inaugural Green Challenge occurred October, 2008 at Road Atlanta's Petit Le Mans, the American Le Mans Series' signature race of 1,000 miles. Corvette Racing, using cellulosic E85, had the best overall green achievement score and won the Green Challenge award in GT class. Penske Racing won in the prototype class with its Porsche RS Spyder that competed using E10 while using an innovative and fuel-efficient direct-injection system.

-credit: alms