IRL receptive to ethanol fuel sponsorship

The Indy Racing League has indicated that it is open to a switch from methanol to corn-based ethanol for its racing fuel. Responding to an approach from America's Senate Biofuels Caucus [Oct 6], IRL spokesperson Fred Nation stated: "We're interested, but it would have to be a commercial decision for us. If we had a fuel sponsor who wanted to advertise ethanol in the IndyCar Series, we would give it serious consideration."

IRL receptive to ethanol fuel sponsorship

The SBC, a group of environmentally minded senators, has written an energy bill that would double the use of ethanol in gasoline to 5bn US gallons a year in the USA by 2012. The legislation is currently stalled over how to the current tax breaks for ethanol users would be maintained.

In the meantime, the SBC wrote to IRL president Tony George urging his organisation to consider making ethanol its 'spec' racing fuel. Senator Jim Talent said: "The key here is advertising, and further acceptance of ethanol."

"Obviously, being associated with the Indy Racing League would be a tremendous opportunity for our industry, given the high profile of racing," said Monte Shaw of the Renewable Fuels Association. "It [the Indy 500] is the great American race, and we're the great American fuel, so we ought to be able to work something out."

Methanol is a non-renewable, natural gas based fuel. Methanol Institute VP Gregory Dolan has responded: "Methanol has proven to be a highly effective and safe racing fuel, and it also has been very cost-effective for the Indy Racing League. The methanol industry would be very reluctant to give up that market."

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