Perhaps explaining GM's otherwise somewhat perplexing investment in a relatively unproven startup like Coskata (the ethanol-from-garbage company), the move to E85 shouldn't hurt performance at all - although it will involve either bigger fuel cells or more stops, compared to regular race fuel, which is E10 (a blend of 90 percent petrol and 10 percent ethanol). Corvette Racing hopes that using the renewable fuel in the high-profile GT1-dominating Corvette will show that greener doesn't always mean weaker, and as a way to spark interest in GM's growing line of FlexFuel vehicles.
The seven-time ALMS GT1 championship 'Vettes won't be the first to run E85, however. Just a few weeks ago Chevrolet debuted the twin pace cars for the 2008 Indy 500, one of which is the E85 Corvette pictured above. But like the E85 Indy pace car, the switch to E85 fuel will mean a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 29% compared to pure petrol. According to GM, this is the first time a race series has made a commitment to E85. But GM has recently been focusing on improving racing efficiency, as proved by Corvette Racing's win in the GT1 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Michelin's Energy Endurance Challenge - the award given to the most efficienct use of fuel during the race.
The first round of the 12-race ALMS series starts March 15, 2008 at Sebring.