Michelin Green X Challenge makes history
They call the 10-Hour/1,000-Mile race; “Petit Le Mans”. For car manufacturers and teams this is not merely the ninth stop of the 2009 American Le Mans series, it is also a celebration of the first anniversary of the Michelin Green X Challenge “the race within the race.” Big challenges and big opportunities, including guaranteed invitations to the 2010 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans await the class race winners.
The 2009 Petit Le Mans (Sat. Sept. 26) will feature the return of ultra-low sulfur diesel entries from Audi and Peugeot to be matched on the track and in the Michelin Green X Challenge competition against the E10 fueled prototypes from Acura, Oreca and Drayson and the E85R fueled Intersport Lola.
The last minute withdrawal of the new Hybrid electric Corsa Zytek Ginetta prototype, which has competed in three ALMS events this season, means the much anticipated first time head-to-head competition of all four different energy sources permitted under the rules of the American Le Mans Series will be deferred to the start of the 2010 season.
In the GT category, factory teams from Porsche, Chevrolet Corvette, Ferrari and BMW will be joined by a new Jaguar entry. Corvette has leveraged its E85R fueled performance to claim four Michelin Green X Challenge wins, while the E10 fueled Porsches have three victories (two by the Flying Lizard Motorsports and one courtesy of the Farnbacher Loles squad,) while BMW has also scored an E10 fueled win.
“We are excited to have a diverse and deep field and a great race to celebrate the first anniversary of the Michelin Green X Challengee,” said Silvia Mammone, Michelin Motorsports manager.
“The Michelin Green X Challenge provides direct comparisons on the track featuring all four energy sources,” said Doug Robinson, the ALMS/IMSA representative to the ‘Green Racing’ working group compromised of the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. EPA, SAE International. “The results are very telling.”
“As the new regulations for the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans grow closer, we are already seeing teams testing a switch from E10 to E85 and there is considerable interest in hybrid combinations. We are also seeing interest in a possible new fuel source for 2010. The entire area is becoming very exciting,” continued Robinson.