As government officials and auto manufacturers seek ways to reduce the American public's dependence on imported oil, the American Le Mans Series reported Tuesday that it reduced its petroleum usage by nearly 50 percent in its most recent race.
Series president and CEO Scott Atherton delivered the message in an address to journalists, political leaders and government officials at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “Ten days ago at Road America, renewable fuel use by our racecars reduced petroleum consumption by 48 percent compared to traditional all-petroleum racing fuel – an ALMS record,” Atherton said. “According to the Department of Energy, if such a result was translated to the U.S. vehicle fleet, the nation could decrease imported oil dependency by half enabling us to keep $175 billion every year inside our economy.”
With a platform that allows auto manufacturers to develop and test energy-efficient technologies for tomorrow's wave of consumer vehicles, the ALMS and its partners in the auto industry and government are now looking toward pursuing development of new standards for what it terms “Green Racing 2.0.”
The ALMS defines "Green Racing" as an umbrella concept that provides a real-world, competitive, and reward-based proving ground for many of the technologies being developed to help achieve tomorrow's automotive efficiency requirements. Green Racing is also a concept that was developed with the direct involvement and contribution from the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and SAE International. It is covered by an official SAE International protocol, which stipulates that in order for a racing series to qualify as “Green Racing” it must allow for the following three criteria:
• The use of renewable bio-based fuels
• Multiple engine, fuel and powertrain configurations
• Regenerative energy technologies, which recover and reuse energy
Already meeting those criteria since 2009, ALMS leadership announced it is looking toward “Green Racing 2.0.” With the backing of Michelin North America, Inc., the series has since 2009 conducted the Michelin Green X Challenge – a competition within all ALMS races that rewards teams that go the farthest, fastest with the smallest environmental footprint for energy consumed.
The Aug. 20 race at Wisconsin's Road America marked the 25th Michelin Green X Challenge since the inaugural event. In that time, 12 of the world's most prestigious auto manufacturers have claimed Michelin Green X Challenge trophies.
“We are not yet finished in developing Green Racing,” Atherton continued. “In order to remain the 'Global Leader of Green Racing,' the American Le Mans Series will keep moving forward. We expect to soon have manufacturers and teams competing with new alternative fuels, both bio-based and Compressed Natural Gas. Our rules makers are actively working with auto manufacturers and government officials to steadily reduce the total energy consumed by the cars. Among the options are percentage reductions in fuel allocations over time and total energy allocations as early as 2014. We intend to work with our partners, teams and manufacturers to move toward turning these goals and objectives into reality in the not distant future. At the same time, I want to assure our partners and competitors that we value rules stability while work goes on developing the details of Green Racing 2.0.
“We are immensely proud of the partnership between our series, our participating OEMs and tire companies, and our government,” Atherton concluded. “The automotive industry's most important race today is not Daytona, Indy or Le Mans. The new race is defined by global concerns for energy supply and climate change. The great race of the 21st century is for economic, socially responsible, sustainable transportation solutions, and we are proud of the role we have in that race.”