Click above for a high res gallery from the 2009 12 Hours of Sebring
The 2009 12 Hours of Sebring was one for the history books and that's where it is now. If the race is still sitting on your Tivo, stop reading now. Otherwise click the continue link to find out who won the Green Challenge and the overall victory.
After debuting at last falls Petit Le Mans, the 2009 Sebring race marks the beginning of the Green Challenge as a regular fixture of every American Le Mans Series race. The Michelin Green X Challenge uses a formula that factors in fuel consumption, on track performance and overall environmental impact of the fuel used by each car. This race featured cars running on E85 cellulosic ethanol, E10 gasoline-ethanol and diesel. In this race the top three Green Challenge spots among the prototypes went to the Audi R15s with car No 2 taking the top position followed by No 1 and the No 8 Peugeot taking the third slot.
In the GT classes, the cellulosic E85 fueled No 3 and 4 Corvette C6Rs took the top spots in the Green Challenge ahead of the Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 running on E10.
In terms of overall performance, the diesels of Audi and Peugeot took four of the top five positions with the No 2 Audi R15 TDI winning by 22 seconds over the No 8 Peugeot 908 after 12 hours of racing. The winning Audi was driven by the 2008 Le Mans winning trio of Alan McNish, Dindo Cappello and Tom KristensenEven in the dark in the final hours, the top cars were still running laps faster than the pole sitting qualifying time of Acura ARX-02a. The Audi won in its debut race while the brand new Acuras ran strong in the first half of the race. In the waning hours however, the Acuras suffered from power steering problems and fell back. One of the older LMP2 Acura ARX-01s being run by Fernandez racing hung in finished fourth overall.
The winning Audi, actually ran 21 laps more than last years winning Porsche RS Spyder thanks to tremendous speed, and relatively few yellow flags to slow things down.