Intersport team tests cellulosic E85 fuel

Intersport Racing Lola
Photo credit: John Thawley ~ Creative Communications Group

Intersport Racing became the first American Le Mans Series team to run the Series’ new cellulosic E85 race fuel on the track. The Dublin, Ohio-based team tested its AER-powered Lola B06/10 on Monday and Tuesday at Sebring International Raceway in preparation for the 56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on March 15.

“This was an easy choice for us," remarked Clint Field, team owner and driver. “It's the right thing to do. As one of the pioneer teams that started with the American Le Mans Series in 1999, we wanted to support its efforts in establishing itself as the global leader in Green Racing."

Intersport became the first prototype team in the Series to commit to campaigning on IMSA’s cellulosic E85R, supplied by KL Process Design. Corvette Racing will use E85R to power its two factory Corvette C6.Rs in GT1. Drayson Barwell Motorsport will see its Aston Martin Vantage V8 compete on the fuel in GT2. In order to balance the amount of energy in a tank of fuel, all E85R-powered cars will compete with 110 liters compared to E10-powered cars having a maximum capacity of 90 liters.

While consumer ethanol is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, cellulosic ethanol goes a step further in terms of conservation. It is produced from biomass such as wood waste, switchgrass or citrus.

Earlier this year, the American Le Mans Series reaffirmed its position as motorsports' global leader in alternative fuels by announcing it's partnership 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 those criteria.

“We wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t think it would be beneficial," said Field, who added that discussions with IMSA, the Series’ sanctioning body, began during the Sebring Winter Test at the end of January. “The initial readings were good. It produced the same power and ran really well. We're excited about doing something different and we strongly believe in the goals and objectives of the Series. If it brings awareness to alternative fuels, then that’s better for everyone."

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.

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The American Le Mans Series is the premium brand of motorsport in North America, featuring high-tech sports cars from the most prestigious automobile manufacturers in the world. With its direct link to the world famous 24 Hours of Le Mans in France, its unique four classes of competition showcase exotic prototypes (LMP1 and LMP2 classes) and sophisticated production-based GT cars (GT1 and GT2 classes), all competing on the track at the same time. With a 12-race schedule in 2008, the American Le Mans Series competes at premier road racing tracks across North America and at selected temporary street circuits in major urban markets. With a television package that includes five network broadcasts on ABC and NBC as well as seven live telecasts on SPEED, plus live broadcasts across Europe, the Series delivers a global marketing platform that is unmatched in motorsports. The Series, founded in 1999 by Georgia entrepreneur Don Panoz, represents a mirror image to the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world's most famous and authentic automobile race. The American Le Mans Series features elite marques such as Acura, Aston Martin, Audi, Corvette, Dodge, Ferrari, Ford, Mazda, Panoz and Porsche, and premium brands such as Michelin, Yokohama, Kumho, Lowe's, EPIC, Shell, DHL, Hyatt Hotels, XM Radio and many others. The teams competing in the Series range from top professional teams such as Penske Racing, Andretti Green Racing and Rahal Letterman Racing to top-level independent teams such as Dyson Racing and Intersport Racing.

The American Le Mans Series features technical rules that not only allow new technology, but actually encourage auto manufacturers to introduce new innovations into the racing environment as a means of rapid development for production car application. The Series is the only motorsports body in the world that features multiple street-legal alternative fuel sources – clean diesel, E10 gasoline and E85 cellulosic (non-feedstock) ethanol. Through partnerships with diesel fuel supplier Shell, VP Racing Fuels and EPIC (Ethanol Promotion and Information Council), the American Le Mans Series has taken the global leadership role in motorsports for the development of alternative fuel technology and its practical use in production cars.

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