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Environmentally Sound Racing Coming to 2009 American Le Mans Series with the Michelin Green X Challenge

Michelin, known for its success in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), announced today its commitment to a cleaner, more fuel-efficient race series by becoming title sponsor of the "MICHELIN(R) Green X(R) Challenge" environmental competition.

Beginning at the 2009 ALMS season opener in Sebring, each race, two teams - one prototype and one GT - that demonstrate the best overall performance, fuel efficiency and least environmental impact throughout the length of the race will win the MICHELIN(R) Green X(R) Challenge award.

Michelin, the world's leading tire manufacturer, has been a global leader in environmental issues for well over a decade. Eleven years ago, it created the Michelin Challenge Bibendum, the world's premier event for clean vehicles. Three years ago, it created the Michelin Energy Endurance Challenge at the world's most famous auto race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in 2008 extended that award to all of the races on the European based Le Mans Series.

"Stretching fuel in competition wins races. Lowering fuel consumption for consumers stretches wallets at a time when saving money and saving the planet are both top concerns," said Scott Clark, COO, Michelin Americas Small Tires. "Providing support to the American Le Mans Series through the 'MICHELIN(R) Green X(R) Challenge' is a natural fit for us and together with our partners, we can help encourage teams and manufacturers to demonstrate a cleaner, more fuel-efficient way to race, while maintaining performance and the spirit of competition."

The EPA and DOE, in concert with SAE International, recognized the American Le Mans Series in January, 2008 as the only motorsports entity to meet all their criteria for green racing. Every race car in the American Le Mans Series competes using one of four "street legal" fuel alternatives: clean sulfur-free diesel, E10, cellulosic E85 or gas-electric hybrid. "Street legal" refers to alternative fuels that can be purchased by the consumer at the local fuel station.

The MICHELIN(R) Green X(R) Challenge, created jointly by the EPA, DOE, SAE International and the ALMS, uses a system by which all cars are ranked according to:

  • Amount of energy used
  • Greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted
  • Amount of petroleum displaced
  • The Argonne National Laboratory created the rules, regulations and technical specifications for the competition.

The inaugural Green Challenge occurred in October 2008 at Road Atlanta's Petit Le Mans, the American Le Mans Series' signature race of 1,000 miles. Corvette Racing, using cellulosic E85, had the best overall green achievement score and won the Green Challenge award in GT class. Penske Racing won in the prototype class with its Porsche RS Spyder that entered the competition using E10 and direct-fuel injection.

"Michelin is the ideal partner for the Green X(R) Challenge. They lead the tire industry on environmental issues and their technical innovation is recognized worldwide," said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. "Michelin has been a great partner of the series since our beginning and has worked diligently with us and with many of our teams to demonstrate unparalleled success. Having a partner who recognizes the environmental needs within the automobile, transportation and motorsports industry is significant as we continue to maintain our leadership position in green racing among motorsports series worldwide."

"We applaud the efforts of the American Le Mans Series for providing a platform like the MICHELIN(R) Green X(R) Challenge to showcase a variety of environmental technologies in racing" added Clark.

In addition to specialized competition tires used within the American Le Mans Series, Michelin offers a full-line of fuel-efficient, energy saving passenger car and light-truck tires for a variety of consumer applications. Each tire is marked with Michelin's "Green X(R)" symbol on the sidewall, indicating to consumers a level of increased fuel-efficiency.

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