Dyson Racing may be presenting a view of the future at Petit Le Mans today.
While the #20 car, shared between Marino Franchitti, Butch Leitzinger and Ben Devlin, stormed to pole in Friday's qualifying session by over a second, it is the other car, the #16 of Guy Smith and Chris Devlin that may give the team, and main sponsors BP, their biggest success.
After pacing the category through the practice session, the #16 car was not seen on the track during the qualifying session, because of the fuel it was using.
While the #20 car runs on the standard bio-ethanol, their teammates are testing a developmental fuel from BP, made of a mix of conventional unleaded petrol, ethanol and a new bio-butanol. Unfortunately, as it is the only car to run the experimental mix it is ineligible for series points, and was not allowed to qualify.
“We are grateful to the ALMS, the ACO, and IMSA to allow us to do essentially a public test of bio-butanol,” said John Doonan, Mazda's manager of Motorsports Team Development. “It is exciting to be at the forefront of the next generation of alternative and bio fuels. With bio-butanol, you have a cleaner burning, more powerful, better fuel mileage product that we will race here and at Mazda Raceway, and evaluate as to the possible fuels for the series in 2010.”
“The ALMS has always been about relevance and innovation,” say the team. A number of cars in the series already run on greener fuels, such as bio-ethanol or the latest generation of diesels, becoming the first race series ever to be recognised as green, and this year will award its first champion in the Michelin sponsored Green-X challenge.
As for the #16 car's chances of delivering a win with the experimental fuel, Guy Smith remains optimistic, despite starting at the back of the grid. “It is going to be an exciting race battling against the Porsche and the Acura and if it rains, that will only make the racing even more exciting!”