Future ALMS Developments
Besides the information presented in the Acura press conference at Portland (on July 20), there appears to be even more promising news coming our way from the American Le Mans Series - writes Gary Horrocks.

First of all, the ALMS is in the midst of developing regulations that will allow entrants to run on three types of fuel next year. According to IMSA’s Executive Director Doug Robinson, “we are well into plans that will allow our competitors to run on E-85 ethanol fuel next season.” That fuel choice will be in addition to diesel and gasoline.

“The real difficult part of this will be to strike an appropriate balance between the various types of fuel. We will base the initial specs. upon our calculations and then we will bring in an independent party to evaluate our decisions.”

The running of ethanol will be another way in which the ALMS will take existing technology and help push it to another level. The development and use of ethanol and other various alternative fuels will further aid in the reduction of US dependence on foreign oil.

In the near future, the ALMS hopes to announce a single supplier for all three types of fuel. This will entail that all entrants will be running the same spec. fuel and will insure that there are no instances in which exotic blends are used, such as Toyota was using in their GTP program in the early ‘90s.

They are looking at this next step as continuing the current process in balancing the performance levels in the Prototype Classes. In fact, this weekend, a representative of the ACO will be at Portland to share data with the ALMS officials in an attempt to further balance the performance of the various P cars that are running in the series. “It is not an easy job to strike the right balance,” explains Doug Robinson. “What the ACO and we are trying to do is to insure that none of the various fuel types has an advantage over the others. We also need to keep the balance so that well prepared privateer teams can still take on the manufacturers that we are attracting to this series.”

In the discussion, Doug Robinson did acknowledge that the Porsche Spyder was performing to a higher level than was expected when the regulations were drafted by the ACO. While the ACO does take into consideration the other various ACO based series around the world, most of the regulations are drawn up with Le Mans in mind. “At Le Mans, the Porsche, or any other P2 class car, would not be as competitive as it has shown in some of our races. In our series, we have a variety of tracks that will sometimes favor different cars.”

Also discussed was that Hankook tires, currently the eighth largest tire manufacturer in the world, will be entering ALMS competition next season. They are currently in discussions with various teams concerning possible partnerships.

All indications suggest that the Lexus GT2 car will indeed run at the next round at Road America. Doug Robinson will be visiting the team's shop next week to inspect the car. He also indicated that there will be some further developments out of Lexus in the near future. Stay tuned…

 

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