I’m intrigued about the possibility of competing in an E85 fueled car. This is fuel that is the combination of 85% ethanol & 15% gasoline. It is similar (or can be lower) in price to regular unleaded gas. Unfortunately, the manufacturers are pushing this fuel strategy into larger vehicles, not those that would be conducive to motosports competition. But, hear me out!
An E85 fueled vehicle gets lower fuel mileage than the same vehicle powered by gasoline, because ethanol has 70% less energy content. It does burn cleaner, with almost a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. But the kicker is that ethanol is rated at 105 octane, as compared to 87 for regular gas! So during the week you’d drive it to empty on gasoline, then on the weekends you’d fill up with E85 for more power at your racing/autocross event. I have not checked the SCCA rules to see if they classify E85 fueled vehicles differently. This would be a good question to post on a forum.
Another thing to think about ethanol is, what are Indy Cars fueled with? Well, gee – 100% fuel grade ethanol, of course (about 113 octance rating). At this year’s Indianapolis 500, the theme was “Fuel the Dream”. The Indianapolis 500 pace car, a customized 2008 Chevrolet Corvette, driven by Emerson Fittipaldi, was fueled by E85. But can you go down to your Chevy dealer & buy one…? NO!
Here’s another racing series, the America LeMans Series, competing in both modified Corvettes and Aston Martins running on E85.
So if the two premier racing series in the USA are fueled by a high octane, ethanol-based fuel, why aren’t we seeing some high perfomance, E85-fueled sports cars coming from the automobile manufacturers? I’ve no clue. I would think it would be an awesome cross promotional motivation to sell E85-fueled rolling stock out of the showroom. That would be this century’s version of “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday!”
Well, regardless of the fuel offered or available, I’m driven to be Racing Ready!