INDYCAR SERIES TEAMS BEGIN USE OF ETHANOL-BLENDED FUEL
INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2005 - A pair of IRL IndyCar® Series teams will conduct the first on-track test of the league's new ethanol-blended fuel on Dec. 7 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Bryan Herta of Andretti Green Racing and Buddy Rice of Rahal Letterman Racing will use the fuel as part of a one-day test with manufacturers Honda and Firestone.
In March, the Indy Racing League announced it had partnered with the ethanol industry to become the fuel supplier beginning with the 2006 season. Teams will use a 90 percent methanol and 10 percent ethanol blend for the test and during the 2006 season. In 2007, the fuel will be 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol in IndyCar Series cars.
"The transition between methanol and ethanol in our cars should be very smooth," said Phil Casey, the Indy Racing League's senior technical director. "Our cars won't sound differently, smell differently or run differently than they have in the past. There will be a seamless transition from methanol to ethanol in our cars."
Ethanol is an alcohol derived primarily from grain. As a clean-burning and renewable fuel that is non-toxic and 100 percent biodegradable, it reduces harmful air pollution and improves racing's environmental footprint.
Its high octane rating delivers strong engine performance by helping engines resist detonation so they can run higher compression ratios.
Race car engines operating on ethanol have demonstrated excellent performance due to the fuel's high octane content. IndyCar Series cars have run on methanol fuel since the late 1960s. Internal dynamometer testing has shown that there are no technical barriers to replacing methanol with ethanol.
Ethanol is the only proven commercial scale renewable transportation fuel currently available in the marketplace. The 2006 season will not be the first time ethanol fuel has powered a car at the famed Indianapolis 500. In 1927, Leon Duray experimented with ethyl (grain) alcohols in his car.
The IndyCar Series has set the standard in technological leadership in automobile racing.
Over the past 10 years, the IRL has been on the forefront of many advances in auto racing, including the introduction of the SAFER Barrier in 2002 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; the use of three Delphi IRL Chevrolet Safety Trucks, which travel to all races, and are equipped with video cameras in the front and rear; and the use of a device on IndyCar Series cars that measures and communicates the impact of a crash to rescue and safety workers on the scene. Controlled by Delphi's accident data recorder (which also is required on all cars) a light illuminates when a crash reaches or exceeds a pre-set threshold, informing safety workers that an injury is more likely.
The IRL IndyCar Series opens the 2006 season with the Toyota Indy 300 on March 26, 2006 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network. The fifth season of Menards Infiniti Pro Series competition also opens on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.