NEW YORK CITY (July 21, 2010) – The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón took another monumental step toward enhancing its position as the Global Leader of Green Racing with today’s announcement that Porsche’s innovative 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car will race for the first time in North America at the Series signature event – Petit Le Mans on October 2 at Road Atlanta.
After debuting in April at Germany’s world-renowned Nürburgring race circuit in a six-hour event, the Porsche Hybrid challenged the 24 Hours of Nürburgring in May. It earned worldwide acclaim with its performance that had it leading many hours of the race – at times by a significant margin – until the closing two hours when a combustion engine issue forced the car to retire.
“After the 911 GT3 R Hybrid’s fantastic performance at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we are now eager to gain more experience with the hybrid technology on a variety of race tracks,” says Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport. “At the same time, we would like to show fans and customers in our most important market how our ‘race lab’ performs under racing conditions,” adds Kristen.
The Porsche Hybrid will take its place on a worldwide stage at Petit Le Mans, which not only is the Series’ cornerstone event but one of the most important endurance races in the world. This year, for the first time, it will hold the distinction of being the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup’s sole North American stop. The Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, announced by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest a year ago, will decide an international champion based on results from three Le Mans-based series on three different continents – Europe, North America and Asia.
“This is an outstanding opportunity to demonstrate the advances in automotive technologies and energy efficiencies that you won’t see in any other motorsports environment in the world,” said American Le Mans Series President and CEO Scott Atherton. “Porsche has always led by example throughout its motorsports history – transferring what they learn on the race track to their production cars. And I believe this becomes the modern-day benchmark of how a manufacturer uses the American Le Mans Series’ platform to develop and showcase new technology that is destined for road-car application. This car truly offers a glimpse into the future of high-performance road car technology.”
The distinctive aspect of Porsche’s hybrid technology features an electric flywheel power generator located in the cockpit beside the driver that has the advantage of storing and delivering high amounts of energy very quickly. The combination of the combustion engine and electric motor fulfils a simple objective – using less fuel without compromising performance. When overtaking or accelerating, the driver can engage the system by pressing the boost paddle on the steering wheel to send energy from the charged generator.
Because the ACO (sanctioning body for Le Mans racing) has not yet created rules for hybrid technology in production-based cars, the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid will race unclassified at Petit Le Mans.
The American Le Mans Series has achieved the distinction of being the Global Leading of Green Racing by providing a platform that encourages manufacturers to showcase leading-edge, relevant technologies and requiring all vehicles that compete in the world’s leading sports car series to utilize an alternative fuel or energy source. At Petit Le Mans, five different types of alternative energy sources will be raced: clean diesel, E10, cellulosic E85, isobutanol and electric hybrid.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with SAE International, have cited the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón as the only motorsport series to meet its green protocols. In recognition of that achievement, the groups have created a Green Challenge™ award to a prototype and GT (Grand Touring) manufacturer at season’s end. Michelin, meanwhile, has extended the award – the MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge Award – to teams on a race-by-race basis. The award goes to the teams that demonstrate not only the best overall performance but also the most efficient use of fuel and least amount of carbon emissions.
Porsche won the inaugural Green Challenge at Petit Le Mans in 2008 with a Porsche RS Spyder that featured direct fuel injection. In 2009, Porsche and Flying Lizard Motorsports won the event at Petit Le Mans behind an E85-powered Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Porsche and Flying Lizard also claimed the season-long GT manufacturer and team championships, respectively.