The “Real� Cars of Tomorrow Have Already Been Launched

It seems that the Car of Tomorrow that debuts this weekend at Bristol International Raceway is not only a week behind but perhaps even light years behind. The “Real" Cars of Tomorrow could actually be seen a week ago in the American Le Mans Series season opener at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

While NASCAR enters the 80’s [finally] with its revolutionary unleaded fuel mixture, a week ago American Le Mans Series cars featured drive-by-wire throttles, direct injection turbo diesel power plants, direct-injection gasoline engines, ultra sophisticated tunable traction control systems, telemetry, composite brakes, carbon fiber chassis, and alternative fuels encompassing both a low sulphur, gas-to-liquid clean diesel and a mandated street legal ethanol blend.

The American Le Mans Series, known for its race car technology that transfers to its manufacturers' showrooms, has seen a rapid rise in a number of benchmarks. Television and fan attendance have grown significantly since entrepreneur Don Panoz began the series following an agreement with the 24 Hours of Le Mans to use its name and rules.
The Series currently boasts more manufacturer participation than any series in the world.
Much of that is driven by the ability of manufacturers such as Audi, Porsche, Acura, Corvette, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Mazda to develop technologies on their race cars that eventually find its way to those the consumer puts in his driveway.

“The Audi R10 is the technical test bed for what you will be seeing on the streets two to three years down the road," said Johan de Nysschen, executive vice president of Audi North America recently. “In fact, this whole motorsport [series] is entirely relevant. Formula One may have high technology but participants and manufacturers in Formula One will one day have to be accountable for the lack of relevance in automotive applications for every day driving. You will see the diesel engine in the R10 and its technology on the roads of North America within the next 18 months. This [American Le Mans Series] is where we are developing the Cars of Tomorrow."

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