American Le Mans, EPIC create green competition

By Anna Austin | September 08, 2008
Web exclusive posted Sept. 19, 2008 at 1:27 p.m. CST

American Le Mans Series Racing, a series of racing events between four different classes of high-tech sports cars, has released rules and regulations for its first ever Green Challenge Competition. The event will debut during the American Le Mans signature series event Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., on Oct. 4.

In partnership with the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council, American Le Mans will demonstrate and promote E85 nationwide through the Green Challenge, a race developed in association with the U.S. DOE, the U.S. EPA and the Society of Automotive Engineers International.

In January, American Le Mans announced that E85 had been selected as the official fuel of the racing seasona considerable step further toward further use of environmentally-friendly fuels; in 2007, it chose E10 as its "official ethanol-enriched fuel."

The organizations involved in creating the Green Challenge spent thousands of hours developing the formula for its race car competitors to win the race. Monitored criteria will include race car performance, fuel efficiency and environmental impacts, such as greenhouse gasses emitted and petroleum displaced.

Corvette Racing and Aston Martin Racing have chosen to use only E85 during the racing season.

Reece Nanofito, senior director of marketing for EPIC, said this is the first time that a racing series has made a commitment to use E85. "In addition to the series making E85 available, EPIC will have director sponsorship of the two E85-Corvette Racing entries," Nanofito said. "Having such an American icon racing on E85 will go a long way to demonstrate and promote E85 use nationwide."

It has been an interesting and challenging process to develop the Green Challenge rules, said Scott Atherton, president and chief executive officer of the American Le Mans Series. "With four different classes of cars, 14 auto and chassis manufacturers, and three different alternative fuels to take into consideration, a formula of how to create a fair competition with real time analysis and a format that is east to understand and communicate has been difficult." The fuels available for use will be clean sulfur-free diesel, E10 and E85.

The cars participating in the race which go the fastest, while making the smallest environmental footprint, will receive the lowest scores. A Green Challenge Championship will also be held in the 2009 season.

"We have always claimed to be the most relevant racing series on the planet," Atherton said. "Now, we hope to play a role in saving that planet by working with manufacturers on innovative alternative fuel solutions and new technologies."

To learn more about Green Challenge rules, visit www.americanlemans.com/News/Article.aspx?ID=4383.