EEMS Campaign Partners Barwell Motorsport made motorsport history on 3 June when Paul Drayson's E85 bioethanol-fuelled Aston Martin DBRS9 six litre V12 sportscar, in the hands of co-driver Jonny Cocker, crossed the line to score its first win of the season and top step of the podium in round five of the highly competitive Avon Tyres British GT3 Championship. This is the first biofuelled car to win a major motorsport event in the UK.

Appropriately this was the EEMS-supported Snetterton round, an action-packed two hour race requiring consistent good driving, excellent team strategy and faultless pitwork by the Barwell crew, a real test of the car and fuel. The DBRS9 runs on E85, a blend of 85% bioethanol with 15% petrol. Bioethanol is produced from biomass such as sugar cane, sugar beet or crop waste.

This is the first race win in the UK for a racing car running on biofuel, an important milestone for energy efficient motorsport. EEMS, the Energy Efficient Motorsport Programme, has been working to promote measures which put energy efficiency at the heart of modern motorsport, such as alternative fuels, powertrain and hybrid technologies. EEMS also supported the first biofuelled car to finish the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2003, the British Nasamax Judd LMP1.

The car started from pole position on the grid, team mate Jonny Cocker having beaten petrol-driven Ferraris, Moslers, Porsches and Vipers, as well as the other two Barwell Aston Martins, to clinch the fastest qualifying time. After Paul Drayson's starting stint at the wheel, Jonny took over the car for another superb performance under pressure to take the chequered flag with huge applause from the team. The Aston Martin DBRS9 is based on the DR9 road car, developed by Prodrive for racing and with further changes to the fuelling system and ECU calibration for the biofuel. Composite bodywork helps to reduce the weight.

'It's very exciting to have this first in UK motorsport,' said team manager Mark Lemmer. 'Paul Drayson has been the driving force behind the conversion to biofuel and we are delighted to have this first biofuel victory. This was a great team effort, both drivers did brilliantly and the car performed perfectly throughout the two hours of endurance racing, which certainly will have tested it.'

Paul Drayson was also delighted, 'This is not a one-off, the car has been competitive all season, taking two pole positions and it now leads the championship. It goes to prove that running a car on biofuel does not mean any compromise of performance. I hope we can get this message across to motorists everywhere.'

Alan Mercer, Programme Manager of EEMS was on hand to witness this piece of history. 'What a great achievement, Barwell has certainly shown that racing with biofuel can be exciting! They are a superb team to carry the flag as EEMS Campaign Partners, demonstrating what can be achieved. Today is a piece of history for UK motorsport, and it will encourage other competitors and championships to adopt new fuels and energy efficient technologies.'

Barwell Motorsport's biofuel V12 DBRS9 Aston Martin now heads the championship tables with 34 points.

-credit: barwell