The American Le Mans Series will revive its Green X Challenge Award with Michelin tires as the sponsor for 2009. The prototype and GT cars that acheives the best performance and fuel efficiency with the fewest emissions will win the award.
Lest you doubters think Michelin is jumping on the green bandwagon, they’ve been rewarding eco-friendly innovations for a while now. Eleven years ago, they created the Challenge Bibendum for clean vehicles, then in 2006 sponsored the Michelin Energy Endurance Challenge at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. In 2008, it extended the Energy Endurance Challenge to all European Le Mans-series races.
For its part, ALMS has been making the most inroads into green racing, with hybrid, biofuel, and clean diesels at the starting line. ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton has applauded President Barack Obama’s green auto initiatives, and sees the track as a proving ground for new consumer technologies.
Racing will probably never be as clean a sport as, say, competitive tree planting, but initiatives like the Michelin’s Green X Challenge can help sate our need for speed and our preference for breathing cleaner air.
Photo of the E85-powered Corvette at the last ALMS race of 2008 courtesy of American Le Mans.