Racing Cars and Ethanol Join Forces with Indy Racing League to Get Ethanol Sponsorship

A decision by Brazil's trade promotion agency, APEX-Brasil, to sponsor the top ethanol-powered auto racing category, the Indy Racing League (IRL), contributes to consolidate ethanol as a global commodity and is in the spirit of a Memorandum of Understanding on biofuels signed between the governments of Brazil and the United States in 2007.

According to the president of the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA), Marcos Sawaya Jank, the deal strengthens a natural partnership between Brazil and the United States, the world's top producers and consumers of ethanol. Together, the two countries account for more than 75% of global ethanol production. "This will help ethanol to attain global energy commodity status as well as fulfill its vital objectives: to help provide energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions," he added.

A letter of intention was signed today between APEX-Brasil and the IRL on the opening day of the First International Brazil-Biofuels Exhibition held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Sao Paulo. UNICA was notified in late October that negotiations between APEX-Brasil and the IRL were underway, and that the overall objective for APEX-Brasil is to utilize the Indy Car racing season to promote a variety of Brazilian products in the three countries where the league holds its races: the United States, Canada and Japan.

APEX-Brasil has requested that UNICA consult its 116 member companies to identify those interested in supplying their own ethanol, or purchasing ethanol from feedstocks other than sugarcane, to fuel the Indy races. Regardless of the feedstock used in its production -- corn, sugarcane, or various cellulosic materials in the future -- the final molecular composition is the same. The end result is a clean, renewable biofuel that reduces dependence on fossil fuels and combats one of the major causes of climate change. In times of widespread energy, financial and environmental dilemmas, UNICA believes the use by the IRL of ethanol sourced from different agro feedstocks symbolizes the dream of greater energy integration involving countries throughout the Americas, an idea with the potential to spread to the entire planet.

"The involvement of APEX-Brasil is a natural next step, since several Brazilian pilots already compete in the IRL. We're anxious to contribute so that Indy continues to showcase all of the benefits of ethanol use instead of fossil fuels. This involoves teamwork, and both the United States and Brazil, as major producers and users of ethanol, have the duty to remain ahead of the pack in the global race for alternative energy sources," concluded Jank.

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