Road America is next for the Michelin Green X Challenge
Road America – often called “America’s National Park of Speed” - provides the teams and drivers of the American Le Mans Series many clear reminders of the importance of energy and the environment in modern motorsports competition as they arrive here in Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine region, August 18.
Surrounded by farms, popular tourist sites, and less than 30 minutes from the Lake Michigan shoreline, the links between energy efficiency, the environment and the economy are obvious.
“When we come to a place like Road America and see the rolling hills and farms, the lakes and how the local economy is so intertwined, we are reminded yet again of the importance of clean and efficient sources of energy and a clean environment,” said Silvia Mammone, Michelin motorsports manager.
Incongruous though it may initially appear, the “race within the race” that is the Michelin Green X Challenge, now in its fourth season of competition as a feature of every ALMS race, plays an important role in accelerating the development of new energies and technologies and into that balance.
Created in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, SAE international and the sanctioning International Motor Sports Association, the Michelin Green X Challenge helps manufacturers and energy providers develop innovations and technologies in the rigors of top-level competition.
In just its first 34 races, the Michelin Green X Challenge awards, one for Prototypes and one for production-based GT cars have been won by 13 different car manufacturers racing on E10, E85R, Isobutanol and GTL diesel fuels.
Manufacturer winners include: Acura, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Ford, HPD Honda, Judd, Mazda, Nissan, Peugeot and Porsche.
And winning isn’t the result of cruising through the ALMS race. Races range from two to 12 hours, with four hours on the docket here at Road America’s ultra-fast 4.08-mile circuit. A similar program is held at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans and at each FIA World Endurance championship event.
To date, 28 of the 68 Michelin Green X Challenge winners to date, have also won their respective class in the race itself.
In addition to the traditional programs and a migration to E-85R cellulosic fuels, GTL turbo-diesels and the introduction of isobutanol, the sport has also the first Porsche flywheel, gasoline hybrids, the Toyota ultra-capacitor-gasoline-hybrid and the 2012 Le Mans winning Audi turbo-diesel flywheel hybrid. And ALMS is already exploring the introduction of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) as the fuel for the ALMS Prototype Challenge class in 2013.
“The new technologies and energies are coming closer to market and the manufacturers and energy suppliers are proving out those technologies in the Michelin Green X Challenge,” said Mammone.