The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and its technical operations affiliate, International Motorsports Association (IMSA), has formally approved a butanol blend as the fifth energy source for race cars in the series. ALMS entrants are already running on E10 (10 percent ethanol), cellulosic E85, diesel and hybrid-electric power. The first team expected to use butanol on a full-time basis will be Dyson Racing with its Mazda-powered Lola prototypes. Dyson first used butanol on an experimental basis in one of its cars during the Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca races at the end of the 2009 season.
For now, the approved fuel is a blend of 20 percent biobutanol and 80 percent ethanol (iBE20) and only prototypes will be allowed to use it. For the first two races at Sebring and Long Beach, cars running iBE20 will have to carry an extra 30 kilograms of ballast until the performance impact is assessed. From the Laguna Seca race in May, the extra weight will be removed.
The butanol fuel is being supplied by Dyson's primary sponsor, British Petroleum. Butanol has a number of advantages over ethanol as a fuel, starting with energy density. Gasoline has 32 megajoules per liter while butanol has 29.2 MJ / L and ethanol has only 19.6 MJ / L. Butanol also has a much lower heat of vaporization than ethanol, allowing for easier cold starts. Because its characteristics are closer to gasoline, it can be used without resorting to stainless steel fuel lines and higher flow injectors. However, its high melting point requires it to be blended with gasoline to prevent gelling in cold weather.
Photos by Sam Abuelsamid / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: International Motorsports Association]
IMSA COMPETITION BULLETIN #10-06
To: All American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón Entrants
From: Scot E Elkins, Vice President, Operations
Date: 11 March 2010
Re: Approved Fuels Update
Effective immediately BP Isobutanol/Ethanol Race blend (BP ALMS iBE 20) has been approved for use in the LMP-LM1-LMP2 classes only. The specification sheet for this fuel is listed below as well as contact information for obtaining this fuel.
In order to permit an acceptable time for all competitors to assess this new fuel any competitor that wishes to utilize this fuel will be required to add 30kgs to their assigned minimum weight. This additional weight will be required until May 19, 2010 at which time competitors may remove said weight.
Specification Sheet: BP ALMS iBE 20
(Typical Values) Specific Gravity: .783 @ 60°F Color: N/A MON: 91.7 R+M/2: 98.4 RON: 105 RVP: 7.98 Oxygen Content: 6.46% by weight
10% Evap @143.3 Deg. F. 50% Evap @184.6 Deg. F. 90% Evap @226.6 Deg. F. FBP 230.2 Deg. F.
Production: Availability: Sealed Drums