Racing on renewable energy
In the 2003 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Team Nasamax ran a bioethanol-powered Cosworth 2.65 liter V8 in the LMP1 class. In spite of a "difficult debut," they returned in 2004 with a 4.0 liter Judd V10 with an ACO sanctioned 135 liter fuel tank (others were limited to 90 liters) and a larger diameter refueling hose to offset the decreased efficiency relative to gasoline. That year, they managed 17th place.
In 2005, Triple Eight Race Engineering converted one of its 2004 championship-winner Vauxhall Astras to run on bioethanol fuel in the British Touring Car Championship. Fiona Leggate, a novice driver to the scene, took the eco-friendly Astra to a best-place finish of 5th at Silverstone. For 2006, Fiona is once again making a charge for the championship in her Astra.
Here in the States, the Indy Racing League is pushing forward a massive bioethanol-usage project. This year, the IRL has shifted from methanol to a 10 percent/90 percent bioethanol/methanol blend. Next year, Indy cars will be running on 100 percent bioethanol.
It's great to see motorsports taking an overall interest in the environment and even better to see some of your heroes make the difficult strides in overcoming the transition from fossil fuels to a cleaner tomorrow.
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