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Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2008 Detroit Sports Car Challenge

American Le Mans Series CEO Scott Atherton visited the Detroit Auto Show last week and talked about the successes and challenges the series faces in 2009. Racing series' around the world are losing teams this year as a result of the worldwide economic slump, and the American Le Mans Series is no exception. In spite of both Audi and Porsche withdrawing as full-time participants in the prototype classes, Atherton is optimistic. Audi won't be racing full-time, but its new R15 TDI will make its world debut at the season opener in Sebring.

Also coming at Sebring will be the announcement of a new manufacturer joining the series, possibly as soon as the race at Long Beach. Mazda is also expanding its involvement its involvement through a tie up with Dyson Racing. Hoping to take advantage of the Green Challenge that will be a full season aspect of ALMS this year, an energy company has approached Atherton about introducing a fourth fuel to the current mix of E10, cellulosic E85 and diesel. Yet another manufacturer is hoping to introduce a new type of hybrid technology as well. Check out the whole story at Green Fuels Forecast.

[Source: Green Fuels Forecast]
Photos Copyright ©2008 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      The GT2 manufacturer is Jaguar, coming in with an XKR GT. They were supposed to have announced the program at NAIAS, but are now waiting for Sebring.

      KERS/Hybrid power is already very alive and well in sports car racing, and Sebring will see the first hybrid powered LMP1 take the grid (the Corsa Zytek has already done 2 races, but did not have the hybrid system installed at the time). Peugeot is also working on a hybrid version of their 908 diesel LMP1.

      I'm expecting the new manufacturer to be Toyota. They've already had their hybrid race system installed into the back of a Dome S101.5 to test it, so they definitely have a desire to be in endurance racing, and the ALMS is the place to do it if you wanna be "green".

      Aston Martin couldn't be the answer. Sure there is an Aston LMP1 on the way, but Aston has been very well represented in the series for years, so they'd in no way be a "new" manufacturer.

      In regards to the member mentioning that the Audi R15 would be a hybrid diesel, I don't think that will be the case. Audi is not a company that promotes, or even sells hybrid cars, so they have no need to spend money developing hybrid race technology. I may even remember Wolfgang Ullrich saying they absolutely wouldn't be doing anything hybrid, but maybe I'm wrong. I'm more expecting the Audi to have a smaller V10 or even V8 turbo diesel that relies a bit more on revs than monstrous torque. Tom Kristensen has driven the new car and claims it to be "radically different" from the R10, so what exactly that means, we'll find out this March.

      The economy is definitely hurting car counts, but it doesn't seem to be hurting the engineers imaginations as sports car racing continues to get more and more diverse and interesting!
      • 6 Years Ago
      The GT2-class battle will be fierce, which makes for a great spectacle. I certainly can't wait.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If I read the article correctly, it's TWO new manufacturers...one for a GT program that will likely start at Long Beach..and another for a Prototype program whose launch is TDB
        • 6 Years Ago
        Could it be Aston Martin for the prototype catagory? Toyota has also shown interest as well with a hybrid prototype, although I don't think it's this year.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Since they've mentioned the implementation of "hybrid" like KERS, then technically the new fuel could be "electricity".
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Yet another manufacturer is hoping to introduce a new type of hybrid technology as well."

      It's rumored that the new Audi R15 will be a diesel hybrid.


      In GT2 we have BMW, Corvette, and possibly an Aston Martin team joining the fray. GT2 will be epic this year.