Road Atlanta’s Petit Le Mans, the American Le Mans Series signature endurance racing classic, will feature a race within a race next week as car manufacturers compete to excel in fuel efficiency and environmental impact in addition to performance.
In conjunction with the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC), U.S. Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Society of Automotive Engineers, the “Green Challenge” puts the spotlight on emerging fuel technologies, including the worldwide debut of a hybrid electric prototype race car featuring cellulosic E85 racing ethanol. The Series can now boast that every one of its race cars compete using one of four alternative fuels – either clean sulfur-free diesel, E10, cellulosic E85 racing ethanol, or electric hybrid.
Last year, EPIC and fuel supplier VP Racing Fuels introduced E10 to the Series. This season, EPIC brought in E85 as one of the fuel options. Corvette Racing and Aston Martin Racing have chosen to use only E85 during the racing season.
“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. “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.”
Monitored criteria in the Green Challenge will include race car performance, fuel efficiency and environmental impacts, such as greenhouse gasses emitted and petroleum displaced. The 11th Annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta opens October 1 with practice and qualifying, leading up to the October 4 start of the 1,000-mile, 10-hour American Le Mans Series signature race.