Hybrid Race Car Planned For ALMS

Corsa Motorsport announced that it will field a hybrid-powered Zytek starting at Petit Le Mans this season

Corsa Motorsports announced today that it has entered into a strategic alliance with the Zytek Group based in the United Kingdom. The partnership will result in the production of the first Le Mans Prototype car fitted with a hybrid power system. Corsa will compete as a works team in the LMP1 class of the American Le Mans Series. The team’s plan is aimed squarely at Sebring 2009 and predicated on testing and progress. The Zytek will be unveiled at and compete in the ALMS Green Challenge at Petit Le Mans (October 4), in addition to the season-ending Sports Car Championships at Laguna Seca (October 18).

Initial tests of the car were held at Donington Park in the UK in July with additional tests ongoing in the UK before the car is transported to the United States for a final shakedown at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah prior to departing for Petit Le Mans.

Steve Pruitt (right): "If it proves successful, it will transcend motorsports by its social and technical relevance."

The Zytek LMP1 Hybrid
The car is based on a Zytek 07S carbon fiber/aluminum monocoque employing typical wishbone suspension with rack and pinion steering and fitted with a Ricardo 6-speed sequential gearbox using a Zytek electronic gear shift system. The car will be powered through a combination of an ethanol-fueled (E10) internal combustion engine and a 3 phase induction electric motor.

The ethanol-fueled engine is a newly designed Zytek 90° normally aspirated 4.5-liter V8 with four overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder with an output of 625 hp. The electric motor is a direct drive Zytek proprietary design powered by an on-board lithium-ion energy storage system with a KERS (kinetic energy recovery) supplemental regeneration system.

The heart of the system is the energy storage/battery system which enables the collection and conversion of mechanical energy to electrical energy permitting use of the electric motor resulting in more efficient power and a lower carbon footprint. The lithium-ion battery used on the car is supplied by Zytek shareholder Continental AG of Germany.

Steve Pruitt – Corsa Motorsports Owner and Principal
“I am truly excited about this opportunity with Zytek. Not simply because Zytek constructs one of the best Le Mans prototype cars, but because of the technological relevance this car represents as society looks to the world’s need for global energy reform. The LMP1 chassis will be fitted with a full hybrid system – one that is untried in the harsh conditions of endurance racing. If it proves successful, it will transcend motorsports by its social and technical relevance. Bringing such technology forward in a safe, reliable and competitive manner is a true challenge. Our excitement is bolstered by the fact that ALMS – the only remaining non-spec series – actively promotes the development and use of such technologies confirming the Series’ position as the most relevant series in motorsports. As society begs for changes in energy consumption and carbon footprints, Corsa is pleased to have the opportunity to be a part of the research and development of this technology which will one day find itself beneficial to everyday lives outside of motorsport."

Scott Atherton – President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Le Mans Series
“This is a landmark announcement not just in the American Le Mans Series but for North American motorsport in general. We have said for some time that our platform which encourages manufacturers to develop new technologies and relevant automotive innovation is ideally suited for the challenges the auto industry faces. And as concerns over oil, energy and climate change continue to play prominently in headlines around the world, here is an example that offers a practical, real-world advancement that will be tested and developed in the most extreme environment in the world. Zytek and Corsa Motorsports deserve admiration and applause for taking this tremendous step in bringing another alternative power source into the American Le Mans Series. We are thrilled with the confirmation of this ground-breaking entry debuting at Petit Le Mans and The Green Challenge as it is an ideal example of why the American Le Mans Series truly is the Global Leader of Green Racing.

“Zytek is well known within the motorsports industry for its race-winning prototype cars and engines. However, what most are not aware of is that Zytek is a world leader in gas-electric hybrid technologies for road cars. In fact, many of the largest auto manufacturers are utilizing Zytek hybrid technology in their road car applications. The Zytek / Corsa hybrid LMP1 car represents the cutting edge of hybrid development with technologies being developed on the race car that will soon be transferred to the road cars of tomorrow.

Bill Gibson, Zytek Chief Executive Officer
“We have been working away on this ever since the Q9 hybrid that competed at Petit Le Mans in 1998," explains Zytek CEO Bill Gibson. “Now Steve and Corsa Motorsports are giving us the opportunity to bring our aspirations to fruition."

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