The American LeMans Series...
The American LeMans Series Corvettes run on sustainably produced E85. Here they lead a BMW and a Porsche at Road America earlier this season. The Corvette team No. 3 of Johnny O'Connell and Jan Magnussen have won two of the ALMS' Michelin Green X Challenge races this year.
Using a previously-mentioned PEMS, emissions samples will be gathered through the various tests, both on the dyno and track. Whenever the engine is fitted with EFI, the on-track configuration will include catalytic converters and closed-loop operation. The same holds true for engine dyno testing.
The car? It's an experimental platform that will be a departure from the traditional oval-track car and will be introduced in a coming issue. The magazine has also selected a well-known, Late Model Sportsman driver to handle all on-track driving. Horace Mast of Mast Motorsports, an established group of young LS-friendly engine builders/engineers based in Nacogdoches, Texas, will handle the engine conversions and engine dyno testing.
The data collection protocol is a contribution from engineers Bob Larsen and Forrest Jehlik from Bob's staff at Argonne National Labs. Bob sits on the SAE Board of Directors and eagerly chose to participate in this project. Dave Kalen, an executive account manager and enthusiast from Sensors, Inc. will take part in the emissions measurement activities, on the dyno and at the track. Dr. Jamie Meyer, Product Integration Manager for GM Performance Parts, is providing the engine and overall components access. And Tom Ball, an engineer/enthusiast from the Federal Environmental Protection Agency is supplying commentary from his perspective.
Based on the direct involvement of these highly skilled and informed participants, we feel this project is a rifle shot to the target of improved motorsports enthusiast awareness about the needs for (and opportunities within) future racing activities. By way of emphasis, keep in mind that the project is intended to stimulate thought by virtue of a "first level" of investigation we hope will lead to more in time. Our collective sense is there will be an influx of ideas and experimentations brought forth by core members in the circle-track racing community, and if this singular project helps bring them forward, it will have been successful.
Concluding Commentary On
You'll be seeing a portable...
You'll be seeing a portable emissions analyzer involved in this project. We aim to find out if it's possible to make a green race car. Jim McFarland
The Greening Of Motorsports
We appear on the threshold of a "transitional" period during which motorsports must first examine its present condition and direction before committing to specific plans. Much of that introspection has been conducted by the Green Racing Working Group previously mentioned and its assessment appears to be accurate.
Quoting from a GRWG document, "Historically, racing has been in a unique position to promote the rapid technical innovation competitors' need to keep winning. It also has provided the ideal proving ground to assure that technological improvements will be durable under the most demanding conditions. Racing also has a fan and audience base that is ideal to create markets that propel the technological advancement to the street. In this way, racing can be instrumental in addressing some of the most intractable and difficult problems facing the world today-the need for developing sustainable personal mobility and to minimize the impact of human activity on the world resources and climate."
Sprint Cars like these already...
Sprint Cars like these already run fuel injection, albeit mechanical. With engines fueled by methanol, they are one of the greener short-track race cars out there. Todd Ridgeway
From this condensed perspective, it seems clear that the future of motorsports should include a focus on not only re-establishing a solid connection with OEM technologies but seizing an opportunity to once again link vehicle sales with successes in racing. Of course other components play into the total picture that appear to have widened the gap between the use of contemporary, on-road vehicle technologies and what we see on the track. One very pointed example of that is the use of carburetors vs. electronic fuel injection.
The issue of renewable fuels and a sustainable approach to making motorsports more relevant to the transportation needs of the population combine to make how this transition develops even more important. Absent a plan that considers all aspects to growing and continuing meaningful motorsports activities into the future, it will likely continue down its present and questionable path.