Ethanol will be a big part of the ALMS going forward
DETROIT – The American Le Mans Series reaffirmed its position as motorsports’ global leader in alternative fuels today by announcing that it is partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy and SAE International to incorporate “green racing” principles into its 2008 racing season. The American Le Mans Series will be the first motorsports series to meet the criteria for green racing being developed by these groups.
In conjunction with the history-making EPA, DOE and SAE partnerships, the American Le Mans Series announced the creation of a first-ever, Series-wide “Green Racing Challenge.” This new competition will encourage manufacturers to introduce and develop their “green” technologies and will be an incremental element of the Series’ signature event – the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans race to be held Oct. 4 at Road Atlanta. Protocols and criteria for the Green Racing Challenge award are being developed by the EPA and DOE along SAE International and the Series, and will be announced later this spring.
The unprecedented association of the United States’ environmental and energy government agencies, along with the industry’s premier automotive society dedicated to advancing global technology and information worldwide, creates a landmark moment for the world’s premium brand of motorsports. zzzz
“The auto manufacturers competing in the American Le Mans Series have made it very clear that this is a direction and an overall initiative that is important to them,” said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the Series. “The opportunity to formally align with the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and SAE International makes our platform very special and unique – to auto manufacturers and ultimately to consumers. At a time when nearly all of motorsports has lost its relevance regarding progressive technology or any connection from the race track to the showroom floor, the American Le Mans Series stands alone in providing a platform of solutions for our nation’s automotive, transportation and energy needs.”
With a direct link to the world famous 24 Hours of Le Mans in France, the American Le Mans Series features exotic prototype and production-based sports cars competing in four different classes on the track at the same time. The Series has more automobile manufacturers competing head-to-head than any other series in the world. All race cars in the Series compete on alternative fuels. For the last two seasons, Audi has competed with a revolutionary clean diesel-powered race car. Last year, the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) and fuel supplier VP Racing Fuels introduced E10 (10 percent ethanol, 90 percent gasoline) to all other manufacturers who raced in the Series. E10 is virtually the same blend that most consumers are able to buy at their local service station. This season, the Series in conjunction with EPIC will introduce E85 (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline) as one of its fuel options.
American Le Mans Series rules also support the introduction of an electric hybrid race car and encourage manufacturers to develop new technologies (through racing) that can be applied to improve the automobiles being built for consumers. In addition to Audi, other auto marques that currently participate in the American Le Mans Series include Acura, Aston Martin, Corvette, Dodge, Ferrari, Ford, Mazda, Panoz, Porsche and Saleen.
The American Le Mans Series, with technical rules that not only allow but encourage manufacturers to develop cutting-edge innovations, has played an active role in the development of alternative automotive fuels. The competitive use of multiple alternative fuels such as bio and cellulosic ethanol, and zero-sulfur clean diesel has been achieved in conjunction with the automotive manufacturers that race in the American Le Mans Series.
The criteria set forth by SAE in concert with the Environment Protection Agency and Department of Energy to qualify as a Green Racing series requires that certain elements in a series be present. These elements focus on three vital characteristics that measure performance, fuel efficiency and ecological impact. They include:
• The use of renewable bio-based fuel or fuels
• The use of multiple engines, fuels and powertrain configurations
• The use of regenerative energy powertrain technologies
• The use of well-to-wheel energy analysis and GHG analysis
• The use of emission control strategies and systems
“This partnership between government and industry to use the American Le Mans Series as an incubator to accelerate the development of new, relevant and practical automotive technologies that will use less fuel and emit fewer greenhouse gasses and air pollutants further emphasizes the American Le Mans Series as the global leader in this important area,” said Atherton. “This support by EPA and DOE in conjunction with the SAE comes at a time when manufacturers and consumers alike are looking for ‘green’ solutions. We are the only series in which manufacturers can aggressively develop breakthrough technologies for automobiles that consumers will ultimately buy and drive, reinforcing the American Le Mans Series as the most relevant racing series in the world.”
The American Le Mans Series’ 2008 season begins with the 56th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 15 at Sebring International Raceway. For the first time in history America’s premier sports car endurance classic will feature teams that will all use clean diesel, E10 gasoline, or E85 ethanol.
“Like never before, America is confronting a nexus of concerns relating to climate change and energy security – among the greatest challenges of our time. There’s no reason why the motorsports community should not be a part of the dialogue. My office, which is concerned with pollution from mobile sources, is all about putting clean, efficient technologies on the ‘fast track’, and that’s what this initiative literally seeks to accomplish.”
- Margo T. Oge
Director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
“The American Le Mans Series represents a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate and educate consumers about alternative fuels and innovative, efficient automotive technologies in an interesting and dynamic way that captures the public’s attention. These subjects are driven home and made real and pertinent when consumers see some of the fastest racing cars on the circuit competing with E85 or clean diesel. The fact that manufacturers are already actively competing with these alternative fuels makes our association with the Series a natural fit. We also hope that other automotive manufacturers will enter and compete with exciting new technologies they have developed - technologies that will not just make them competitive on the race circuit, but in the consumer automotive market, as well.”
- Ed Wall
Program Manager, Vehicle Technologies Program, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
“Partnering with the American Le Mans Series will further allow SAE International to challenge the future of global mobility engineering and the way we all use energy. We look forward to working with the Series to create protocols for a Green Racing Challenge that will encourage the development of alternative-fuel technologies and other related innovations by automobile manufacturers - and we’re pleased to know that many of these manufacturers already are involved in the American Le Mans Series.”
- David L. Amati
Ph.D., Director of Global Automotive Business, SAE International
"Racing is an integral part of Corvette's history and heritage, and Corvette Racing's
unprecedented success in the American Le Mans Series has reinforced Corvette's standing as a performance icon that is recognized around the world. Since its inception, Corvette has been a platform for Chevrolet and GM to introduce and develop new technology. The use of E85 ethanol fuel by America's premier production sports car racing team in a high-profile, high-tech racing series like the American Le Mans Series shows that Chevy is continuing to lead by example. By showcasing the capabilities of E85 ethanol before an audience of knowledgeable and technically astute race fans, we can demonstrate the benefits of a renewable fuel that helps to reduce dependence on petroleum, helps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and helps to create greater diversity in energy supplies."
- Ed Peper
General Manager Chevrolet, GENERAL MOTORS
“Honda and Acura have always competed in racing for the primary purposes of developing our people and advancing the technology of the sport. The diverse technology platform embraced by the American Le Mans Series was what led us to launch our inaugural Series effort in 2007. Honda has long enjoyed a reputation in the marketplace as an environmentally conscious company and, under its Acura brand, is fully supportive of and enthused about the Green Racing Challenge.”
- John Mendel
Senior Vice President, AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR CO., INC.
"Since its inception, Porsche has strived to improve fuel efficiency as a major part of the overall performance of its sports and race cars. Achieving better fuel economy in its production vehicles, most recently evidenced by the incorporation of direct fuel injection for the 2008 Cayenne and the ULEV-certified engine with VarioCam Plus in the 2008 Boxster, is as important to us as is the optimum fuel efficiency of our RS Spyder. Running on E10 fuel both on and off the race track has been a logical step for Porsche, and we are committed to continue to invest considerable resources in the search for alternative fuels. We applaud the leadership of the American Le Mans Series for its Green Racing Challenge, which has the potential to add a most timely and forward-looking environmental component to the industry's race for optimum performance."
- Peter Schwarzenbauer
President & CEO, PORSCHE CARS, NORTH AMERICA
“We applaud the American Le Mans Series for this latest green initiative. It is this type of innovative thinking that attracted Mazda to the Series as we seek to challenge our engineers to push the boundaries of what is possible. This program is an ideal complement to the Mazda ‘Sustainable Zoom-Zoom’ plan announced last year. The Mazda goal is to develop vehicles that address our shared global climate and energy concerns while still being exciting from a driver’s perspective. The ability to showcase some of that technology in a series like the American Le Mans Series is a fantastic opportunity.“
- Robert Davis
Senior VP Marketing & Product Development, MAZDA NORTH AMERICAN OPERATIONS
“Penske Racing decided to compete in the American Le Mans Series not only because we saw its growth and potential as a racing series, but because it clearly was not afraid to forge into areas such as alternative fuels and other technologies. Innovations like alternative fuels are at the forefront of the racing industry and they can also help reshape the entire automotive landscape. Finding economic and ecologically-sound alternatives to fuels is critical to all of us in the racing and automotive industries. We applaud the Series for its ability to gain support from these pivotal government agencies. Penske Racing looks forward to participating in the Green Racing Challenge this year at Petit Le Mans.”
- Roger Penske
Team Owner, PENSKE RACING
“When I heard that the American Le Mans Series was going even more green in 2008, I just had to be a part of it. Having championed green racing at the national level in the U.K. - and secured the first ever outright victory for a bio-fuelled car last year in British GT - it’s great to have the opportunity this year to race against the best in the world. The American Le Mans Series’ Green Challenge is a brilliant idea. Climate change is the greatest challenge facing our generation and motorsport has its part to play. Our sport doesn't just spur innovation, it changes perceptions, particularly GT racing which is relevant to what people see on the roads. We can show how cool, fast cars can be green too - expanding consumer demand for green technology and making sure that motor racing stays relevant in the 21st century. It’s a great initiative and I'm delighted to compete in it."
- Lord Paul Drayson,
Team Principal & Driver, DRAYSON-BARWELL MOTORSPORT
(Paul Drayson is formerly Parliament’s Minister of State for Defense Procurement and Defense Minister in Great Britain’s House of Lords. An Aston University graduate with a PhD in robotics and former founder of PowderJect Pharmaceuticals, Drayson will race a bio-ethanol fueled Aston Martin Vantage in the Series GT2 class this season.)
“An authentic American classic, the Corvette is now positioned to showcase its power in the alternative fuels arena with the switch to E85. In partnership with the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC), the American Le Mans Series and Corvette Racing have once again demonstrated their commitment to a cleaner, renewable fuel in one of the most demanding proving grounds in racing,”
- Reece Nanfito
Senior Director of Marketing, EPIC
“Shell’s commitment to motorsport at the highest level is an integral part of our extensive Research & Development program and is essential to continually delivering better fuels for our customers. In partnership with the ACO we have developed an advanced racing diesel for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the American Le Mans Series to pioneer the next generation of diesel technology for road cars. Shell GTL Fuel is an important part of the race fuel, made from natural gas that can be used in conventional diesel engines. This clear, odorless, synthetic fuel has outstanding cetane quality, so that it burns more cleanly and efficiently than conventional diesel.”
- Richard Karlstetter
Technology Manager Racing Fuels, SHELL GLOBAL SOLUTIONS