Ethanol hits the racing track with the IndyCar

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Beginning with the 2006 season, the Indy Racing League’s IndyCar Series will be fueled by ethanol, according to the American Coalition for Ethanol.
The Indy Racing League and ethanol industry officials explained that the 2006 IndyCar Series will be fueled by a blend of 90 percent methanol – the league’s current racing fuel – and 10 percent ethanol.
The 2007 series will be powered by 100 percent ethanol.
The Indy Racing League has been in discussion for several years with a coalition of ethanol industry companies.
Showing. “A key part of [American Coalition for Ethanol’s] market development efforts has been showing consumers, through racing, that ethanol is a high-octane performance fuel,” said Ron Lamberty, the coalition’s vice president of market development.
“We can tell people that ethanol performs, but showing them is far more effective. And what better way to show them than by running the world’s most powerful racing machines and the world’s most famous race on the same ethanol that they can buy for their cars?”
Ratings. Race car engines operating on ethanol have demonstrated high performance, and internal dynamometer testing has shown that there are no technical barriers to replacing methanol with ethanol.
Ethanol’s high octane rating delivers strong engine performance by helping engines resist detonation so they can run higher compression ratios.
Transition. “The transition between methanol and ethanol in our cars should be very smooth,” said Phil Casey, the Indy Racing League’s senior technical director.
“Our cars won’t sound differently, smell differently, or run differently than they have in the past. There will be a seamless transition from methanol to ethanol in our cars.”
Ethanol car, too. The ethanol industry is sponsoring one entry in this year’s IndyCar Series lineup.
The No. 91 Ethanol Hemelgarn Dallara/Toyota/Firestone entry will be driven by Paul Dana.
Team owner Ron Hemelgarn was one of the founding members of the Indy Racing League, and his cars won the 1996 Indianapolis 500 and the 2000 IndyCar Series Championship.

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