Corvette Racing, Penske Porsches win Green Challenge world debut

These will be the names to be remembered as the inaugural winners of the Green Challenge™ at the American Le Mans Series’ Petit Le Mans endurance race in Atlanta:

  • Porsche and its Penske RS Spyder team of Pat Long, Sascha Maassen and Emmanuel Collard, and
  • GM/Chevrolet and its Corvette Racing team of Johnny O’Connell, Jan Magnussen and Ron Fellows.
Steve Wesoloski, GM Racing Road Racing Group manager, hoists General Motors’ Green Challenge trophy

These teams earned the first ever Green Challenge trophies in their respective prototype (Porsche) and GT (Corvette) classes. Each had the best score in class for overall performance, fuel efficiency and environmental impact (measured by greenhouse gas emissions) over the 1,000-mile, 2.54-mile road course.

The award was created in conjunction with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and SAE International. On hand to present each trophy were Margo T. Oge, the EPA’s director of the office of transportation and air quality; Pat Davis, the DOE’s official for vehicle technologies and renewable energy and efficiencies; and Dave Schutt, SAE International’s COO and executive vice president.

The American Le Mans Series is the only major race series in the world in which all cars race on alternative street legal fuels: sulfur-free diesel, E10 and cellulosic E85. Street legal refers to fuels that are virtually the same as those the consumer purchases at the fuel station.

Some people, including Oge, believe the Green Challenge represents a real game changer within the motorsports and automotive industry.

“Racing has always been associated with high power and fast driving as well as innovation in safety and performance,” said Oge. “But we have never been able to put racing and green(ing) together. Our hope is by starting here and introducing environmentally friendly technologies, we will continue and transfer such developments to what you and I drive on a daily basis.”

Often viewed as the racing series in which technology transfers directly from the race car to the dealer showroom, the American Le Mans Series has become a leader in green racing. The 11 automobile marquees that race in the series – Audi, Acura, Aston Martin, BMW, Corvette, Dodge, Porsche, Ferrari, Mazda, Panos and Ford – readily admit that the relevancy of the American Le Mans Series and its ability to create an environment to develop technologies is one of the primary reasons they race in the sports car series.

“We have begun something that will have a profound effect on the motorsports and automotive industry,” said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. “When you get the type of support we have had from the highest levels of the EPA and DOE, you know that you are involved in something that can really make a difference. Fuel efficiency and energy independence are two of the most relevant topics we all face today and the American Le Mans Series is prepared to lead the way.”

Audi Sport North America in its R10 TDI diesel-powered race car won the actual race for the ninth consecutive year with drivers Allan McNish, Dindo Capello and Emanuele Pirro.