GM have announced that Corvette Racing will be powered by E85 ethanol for the 2008 American Le Mans Series (E85 Indy pace car pictured). E85 ethanol is an 85 percent ethanol 15 percent petrol blend which features a higher octane rating than straight petrol, a fact that is not lost on the Corvette Racing team as higher octane means more power.
Corvette Racing has spent the last seven years sweeping all before it, claiming seven consecutive GT1 manufacturer and team championships and is obviously looking for something to keep them amused in 2008.
"By showcasing the capabilities of E85 ethanol before an audience of knowledgeable and technically astute race fans, we can demonstrate the benefits of a renewable fuel that helps to reduce dependence on petroleum, helps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and helps to create greater diversity in energy supplies," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet General Manager.
GM claim that their Corvette Race cars feature fuel systems that were already equipped to handle E85 and that the only change required will be some engine recalibration. The move from E10 (90 percent petrol, 10 percent ethanol) to E85 will likely require the use of additional refueling stops, as while ethanol is capable of providing increased power, more fuel is burned in the process when compared to straight petrol.
Today?s E85, is primarily made with grain-based ethanol that reduces carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 29 percent compared with pure petrol. GM in North America currently produces some 400,000 E85 compatible vehicles each year and no-doubt sees the move by Corvette Racing to E85 power, as not only a green initiative but a means of increasing the profile of E85 and their range of FlexFuel vehicles.