When we spoke with American Le Mans Series CEO Scott Atherton at the Detroit Auto Show last January, he revealed that discussions were being held between the series and parties interested in racing with a new fuel. At the time, he declined to reveal the nature of the fuel but expected to announce something during the 2009 season. We're now down to the second to last race of 2009 and a fourth series fuel has finally arrived.
Dyson Racing's LMP2 #16 Lola-Mazda is running unclassified at this weekend's Petit Le Mans because its fuel tank will be filled with a blend of biobutanol and ethanol. This is the first use of butanol in an ALMS car. Dyson has been working with its primary sponsor BP and engine supplier Mazda to develop the new fuel which is currently produced from sugar cane but can also be produced from cellulosic sources. Butanol has several advantages over ethanol including higher energy density allowing mileage and power closer to that of gasoline. What's more, because it doesn't have the same tendency to absorb water (which causes corrosion), it can be blended with gasoline in higher concentrations without modifying the engines. Hopefully, we'll see cars running for points fueled by butanol all season long in 2010. Check out our high-res gallery below and the official press release after the jump.