Grand Am Series grandam

Published on June 13th, 2012 | by Christopher DeMorro

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Grand-Am Series Announces “GX” Class For Alt-Fuel Vehicles

While there are those who fight the notion that any fuel other than oil is a foolish notion, those who know better are working to embrace alternative fuels on every level. The world of motorsports is developing some truly unique and wonderful technologies that run cleaner and more efficiently, and manufacturers are actively seeking out racing series to demonstrate these advances. The famed Grand-Am series is the latest motorsports competition to embrace alternatives with the new GX class, which will debut in 2013.

The GX class will run at the same races alongside the Daytona Prototype and and Grand Touring classes and will host a number of alternative fuel technologies. The series will debut in 2013, which gives Grand-Am officials a chance to hash out rules that will allow technologies that will likely include alt-fuels like ethanol, flywheel hybrids, and small, turbocharged engines. Mazda has already announced that it will enter a clean diesel engine into the GX class next year; who will step up to challenge them?

Sounds a lot like what the American Le Mans Series has been doing for years. I don’t say that to diminish the Grand-Am announcement, as I am always happy to see more motorsports competitions adopting alternative fuels. But rather than announcing an all-new class, which apparently came at the behest of auto manufacturers themselves, why not just switch fuels altogether?

Grand-Am road racers currently run Sunoco 260 GTX, an unleaded racing fuel that allows for compression ratios of around 12:1. Engines tuned to use E85 ethanol can run compression ratios of 14:1 or higher, which any racer will tell you is great for making more powah. A switch from racing fuel to ethanol would also help promote an American-grown fuel, rather than supporting a company which gets a vast majority of its oil from places like Nigeria, a place where oil spills on a scale of Deepwater Horizon happen almost annually. Whatever your misgivings about ethanol, there are now ways to produce it without reducing edible food crops, and Grand-Am should take advantage of its performance properties to green their sport.

But the GX class is a good start, and I am excited that an organization as well known and as popular as the Grand-Am series is hopping on the alt-fuels bandwagon with organizations like IndyCar and NASCAR racing.

Source | Image: Grand-Am Series



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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • Remo

    Hello Chris, just wanted to put in my 2 cents if it’s worth it or not…I don’t know but here goes.

    Why haven’t automotive manufacturers come up with a turbine engine that can run on almost any fuel. This turbine in turn only produces electricity which supplies 1, 2 or 4 electric motors that would run the wheels of a vehicle be it an SUV or car or even vans.
    Aren’t turbines the most efficient, compared to any other engine produced at this point???
    By simply using a turbine would drastically reduce the weight of vehicles as well.
    We do have the technology for this but….something or someone is not allowing this to happen!!!! Am I wrong???

    Thanks for your reviews, I read a lot about cars but when I read your articles they are just amazing.

    Sincerely,

    Remo

  • Bob Baldwin

    you are wrong

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  • Bran Nunya

    As far as the alternative fuels, it isn’t just that food crops are used to manufacture the ethanol. Rather, often the issue is that fields used for food production are supplanted by ethanol producing crops. When there are already drought conditions, depletion of the Ogallala aquifer (current estimates of depletion by 2020), and other concerns regarding global warming, how can we possibly be irresponsible enough to replace our primary requirements of sustenance so we can drive cars? Aren’t we already seeing enough inflation in food prices which would only be exacerbated by agriculture switching to energy crops? I can POSSIBLY see the algae sources as energy crops, but to me the rest comes down to some entirely different source of energy.

    My first response? Have the U.S. build modern nuclear plants without enriched uranium applying the leverage of heavy water. From there we have all the electricity to better fuel more cars like the Volt. Get rid of those ignorant hybrids like the Prius and Ford models. Maybe full electrics will finally become a reality once battery technology catches up. Build all of that into racing as it would only help battery technology. As far as the hybrids that Porsche and Acura are using in ALMS, bleh. Regardless, I applaud any out of the box thinking.

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