20 February 2007 23:10 [Source: ICIS news]
TUCSON, Arizona (ICIS news)--The adoption of ethanol by US auto racing was an important step forward for wider acceptance of the biofuel, US auto racing legend Bobby Rahal said on Tuesday.
Motor racing functions as a laboratory for the automobile industry, Rahal said. New technologies are tested and improved on the race track before they reach the general public, he said.
Ethanol has great prospects as a fuel in US motor sports due to both performance and safety reasons, Rahal told the National Ethanol Conference in Tucson, Arizona.
The biofuel performs as well as any fossil-based fuel but with the added bonus of being less combustible, Rahal said.
“This would reduce the risks of a fire in case of an accident,” he said.
Starting in 2007, the Indy Racing League (IRL), home to the ?xml:namespace>
The switch to ethanol by the IRL shows alternative fuels represent the future, whereas gasoline-powered vehicles are a thing of the past, said Rahal, who won the
In 2006, the IRL used a blend of 10% ethanol and 90% methanol in its cars.
Among the advantages from using ethanol is that its high octane rating delivers strong engine performance by helping engines resist detonation, so they can run higher compression ratios, according to the IRL.
Other auto racing leagues are also using alternative fuels, including the American Le Mans series, Rahal said.
Formula 1 auto racing would likely follow suit in the coming years, he predicted.Sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Ethanol Conference has drawn more than 1,400 delegates. It ends on Wednesday.
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