Ethanol blends are the top fuel choice for vehicles in the 2013 American Le Mans race series. The added performance benefits and eco-friendly quality of ethanol make ethanol fuel blends the preferred choice for the performance-demanding Le Mans racers.
As part of meeting the Green Racing protocols and the International Motor Sports Association, American Le Mans cars must choose from four sanctioned fuels, including clean diesel, E10, E85 and isobutanol. At the start of the season, vehicles racing in the series choose to use either E85 (85% ethanol) or E10 (10% ethanol) for the duration of the races.
It’s not hard to see why ethanol is a popular choice with the fuel’s wicked 100 octane rating. According to a special piece in the Chicago Tribune covering alternative vehicle news, ethanol’s higher octane rating “helps prevent pre-firing of an engine’s pistons and allows the race car to get more bang for the buck.” Plus, “heat takes its toll on engines, especially in [ALMS] cars. Ethanol is said to contain less heat energy than gasoline per volume, releasing less as it is burned.”
Racers might prefer ethanol for the performance benefits, but the fuel’s green factor is what truly makes it stand out. In high-blends like E85, ethanol fuel emits 20% fewer carbon emissions than conventional petroleum gasoline. And the best part? E85 is not reserved for Le Mans vehicles only. Many consumer vehicles can run E85 and get the same performance benefits. Find out if your car can drive E85.
Thanks to alms.com for photos from raceday in Monterey.