The American Le Mans Series is going a little greener next season. Teams are developing Le Mans Prototype Challenge cars that use natural gas in place of traditional race fuel. According to The Washington Post, Patrick Racing is already working on a natural gas 430-horsepower Chevrolet LS3 V8 to power a 1,985-pound ORECA FLM09 chassis. Rated at 130 octane, the fuel is ideal for high-compression race engine applications.

ALMS has made it clear the series is pushing to become one of the world's most efficient by following the Environmental Protection Agency Green Racing protocols. Last year, organizers started researching both natural gas and electric systems for race teams, and while ALMS is keeping details on the Prototype Challenge program quiet at the moment, The Washington Post says that the natural-gas racers should be ready in time for the 2013 season.


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  • 15 Comments
      mogli
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hate to break it to you, but Natural Gas is not green. Lesser carbon-based pollution from ignition than oil-based fuels, but still nothing to earn anyone a "green" seal of approval.
      Carma Racing
      • 2 Years Ago
      "following the Environmental Protection Agency Green Racing protocols" - WTF? What does racing have to do with saving the planet? Are they afraid the greens will say bad things about racing? Is racing trying to become a sissy-geek sport? Makes me so sick I'm gonna go cut down a tree just to kill it!
      Thomas Paul
      • 2 Years Ago
      This IS the fuel of the future. Ethanol is the BS fuel. It takes 9 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of Ethanol. And as for Hydrogen - the remaining product after consumption is heated water vapor which is yet another greenhouse gas. ALMS has gotten this choice right on the first try.
        Carma Racing
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Thomas Paul
        When 1 molecule of natural gas (methane) burns it makes 1 molecule of CO2 and 2 molecules of water. CH4 +2(O2) = CO2 +2H2O In case you thought there was no water vapor from the use of methane as a fuel. BTW - do you consider water vapor a pollutant? -lol
      Carma Racing
      • 2 Years Ago
      to dadaslife 83 - Heed your own advice. FYI A - There is no water vapor in natural gas. Water vapor is one of the products of its burning. B- I know water vapor is a greenhouse gas, but humans putting it into the atmosphere will do nothing. I agree that water is not a pollutant. It is required for life. The same can be said for CO2.
      WillieD
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good for them.
      Alex
      • 2 Years Ago
      FLM09? So its an LMPC car? I thought those were all supposed to be spec?
      Carma Racing
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why natural gas is not as good a fuel as gasoline. 1) Lower octane number. 2) high pressure risks - ~ 3000 psi 3) Larger, heavier fuel tank is required for an equal range.
        Carma Racing
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Carma Racing
        My mistake on the octane. Methane has a research and motor octane rating of 120. Better than unleaded race fuel and pump gas.
      A Yahoo! user
      • 2 Years Ago
      Octane ratings go to 100 after 100 it is a Performance number. This is because Octane rating is obtained by comparing the fuel to a blend of iso-octane and n-heptane.iso-octane is rated at 100 and n-heptane at zero. The test is performed on a CFR variable compression engine.
        SloopJohnB
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A Yahoo! user
        Here's a link to PN: http://yarchive.net/car/octane.html
      Lachmund
      • 2 Years Ago
      how is natural gas greener than other carbon based fuels? this is BS
        Number23
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Lachmund
        It has fewer carbon atoms. For example Methane is CH4, or one carbon atom to four hydrogen atoms. By contrast, the hydrocarbons that make up gasoline contain between 5 and 12 carbon atoms. Fewer carbon atoms results in less CO2 production when burned in an ICE.
          wildfire
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Number23
          No. Your energy density is dependent on breaking those bonds. Burning methane will still net a fair amount of CO2 production. The advantage is that the only products of methane combustion are CO2 and water. Gasolines are a soup of various chemical compounds, and complex hydrocarbons, the combustion of which yields not only CO2 but also, CO, NOx, and a host of other carcinogenic compounds, like acrolein.In that sense, natural gas is significantly greener.
      IOMTT
      • 2 Years Ago
      Turns out the writers of "Mad Max" were prescient on natural gas. The Night Rider stole a methane powered MFP ride before Max incinerated him. I guess we will soon be taking to motorcycles and stealing gas from tankers as they roll down the highway. Back to the point. I would like to see and hear a natural gas powered race car. I like this alternative better than hybrid or plug in vehicles.
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