The Corvette Racing team of Johnny O’Connell, Jan Magnussen and Ron Fellows went down in history as the inaugural winners of the Green Racing Challenge. The 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans win also cinched the American Le Man Series GT1 championship for O’Connell and Magnussen.
The No. 3 Corvette C6.R also had the best score in the Green Challenge, securing the team award in the GT class for Corvette Racing and the manufacturer award for General Motors. Powered by cellulosic E85R ethanol made from waste wood, the winning Corvette had the best overall score in the competition based on based on performance, fuel efficiency and environmental impact.
“It’s not just about making the engine more efficient and more environmentally friendly,” explained GM Racing Group Manager, Steve Wesoloski. “We looked at things like reducing wheel bearing friction and aerodynamic drag to win the Green Challenge. Alternative renewable fuels are an important part of GM’s gas-friendly to gas-free program, and GM already has more E85-capable vehicles on the road than any other manufacturer. Green Racing ties in with what the corporation is doing in production vehicles.”
In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC), and SAE International, the “Green Challenge” put the spotlight on emerging fuel technologies, including the international debut of a hybrid electric prototype race car utilizing E10. Cars were measured on performance, fuel efficiency and environmental impact.
“The Green Challenge is not only a revolutionary concept in motorsports, but it is also providing a valuable testing ground for new technology that will ultimately benefit the average motorist,” said Toni Nuernberg, executive director of EPIC. “This race demonstrates the performance and environmental benefits of using ethanol enriched fuels which is something we can all do today to make an impact.”