AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES PREPARES TO USHER IN NEXT ERA OF GREEN RACING The American Le Mans Series unleashes a new era next week at the 56th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida when it becomes the first...
AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES PREPARES TO USHER IN NEXT ERA OF GREEN RACING
The American Le Mans Series unleashes a new era next week at the 56th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida when it becomes the first major racing series in the world to have every race car on its grid racing one of three alternative "street legal" fuels. Widely acclaimed as the global leader in green racing, every car in the Series will race a clean diesel, an E10 or an E85 ethanol blend that is virtually identical to what consumers put in their cars at the fuel station.
"We have always been about relevancy and authenticity," says Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. "What is more relevant than working with our many automobile manufacturers to find tomorrow's fuel solutions?"
In January at the North American International Auto Show, representatives from the U.S. Environmental Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy in conjunction with SAE International declared the American Le Mans Series the only series that currently meets government specifications for green racing. The Series is expected to announce a unique "Green Challenge" competition later this spring in conjunction with EPA, DOE and SAE.
The conversion to alternative fuels and the Series' focus on environmental-friendly technologies began in 2006 with Audi when it unveiled its R10 TDI turbo diesel at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, claiming top honors. This year, Audi will be joined by diesel-powered ECO Racing and European diesel contender Peugeot, which battled head-to-head with Audi at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year. Peugeot sat on the pole. Audi won the race.
Then a year ago, the American Le Mans Series partnered with the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) to introduce an E10 ethanol (90 percent gas, 10 percent ethanol) to all the other cars on the track. This season, several teams including Corvette Racing - winner of seven straight GT1 class titles - upped the ante and have chosen to run a more complex E85 blend. Drayson-Barwell Motorsport and Intersport Racing also will use E85. Drayson-Barwell will begin the GT2 season in an Aston Martin DBRS9 before moving to a Vantage V8 as the season progresses. Intersport Racing competes in the Series' top class, LMP1, and runs a Lola B06/10 chassis with an AER engine.
"Our rules have always not only supported but encouraged manufacturers to develop technologies that enhance the auto industry," says Atherton. "This includes fuel technologies and we are proud to be on the leading edge of these developments with our OEM partners."
The 2008 American Le Mans Series season opens with the 56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 15. The race will start at 10 a.m. ET and will be broadcast live by SPEED, which will begin its coverage at 9:30 a.m. MotorsTV, Fox Latin America, 7TV in Russia and Greenlight Television will provide international coverage as well. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA's Live Timing & Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.