Autoracing Goes Green

The words “auto racing” and “environmentally friendly” do not usually coincide too much, but it seems that is about to change with the launch of the new American Le Mans Green ChallengeTM series. The race will be both environmentally conscious and high performance – thus blending these two spheres in one enjoyable event.

The American Le Mans Series has just launched the first ever Green ChallengeTM. The race, which is set to take place at Road Atlanta on October 4th, has the complete backing of three major organizations, namely: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy and SAE International. Representatives from these different entities have already spent ample time and energy in conjunction with members of the Argonne National Laboratory to develop the formula that will be required for race car competitors to win the new environmentally-friendly race. Cars that race in the Green ChallengeTM will have to meet the standard car performance, environmental impact and fuel efficiency criteria that have been set for the event. The energy expenditure, greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum displacement of the vehicles will also be assessed.

So just where do you find cars to compete with when you’re facing this sort of strict criteria? The American Le Mans Series already has four classes of technologically advanced race cars that are surprisingly green. Each of the cars runs on a ‘street legal’ version of sulfur-free diesel fuel known as E10 (aka cellulosic E85). These fuels are almost identical to those found at the average fuel station, which just goes to show that you can go green and enjoy high performance. The fuel is essentially made from organic refuse such as wood waste or citrus remains and is clearly highly effective in powering automobiles. The Green ChallengeTM is not only proving that green is possible, hopefully it will show that it can be better too. The race is also the perfect platform for automobile manufacturers to test new ideas and bring about greener solutions to the global threat posed by automobile emissions. The media attention received by the race will also serve to boost green technological developments and hopefully stimulate even more interest in taking road transport to the next level.

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