Mar. 15th, 2007
When the start lights go out on Friday"s SCCA SPEED Touring Car race at Sebring International Raceway, Jim Osborn, of Ooltewah, Tenn., will rocket away from the starting grid in the world’s first biodiesel professional racecar.
Osborn’s team, Chili Pepper Racing, recently announced it would run its No. 24 Volkswagen Jetta on diesel fuel for the entire 2007 SPEED Touring Car season, but the announcement today that the team has successfully made the move to biodiesel, has catapulted them from conscientious racers to world leaders.
Following in the footsteps of Audi’s diesel racing success and the adoption of Ethanol by both ALMS and the Indy Racing League, Jim Osborn couldn’t have picked a better time or place to lead motorsports into the next generation of energy efficient racing. The SPEED World Challenge is a production-based car series and Osborn’s Jetta isn’t much different from those on showroom floors across the country. Osborn hopes his performance at the internationally famous Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring event, will inspire consumers everywhere to explore the possibilities of alternative fuels in their own cars.
"We are extremely proud of this project,” Osborn said. “Alternative fuels have been getting a lot of media attention lately and to be racing a biodiesel car in SPEED World Challenge is a great way to show the motorsports industry and the world that alternative fuels are ready to be incorporated into our lives. The biodiesel fuel we’re using this week is very similar to what’s already on the market.”
Biodiesel fuel is made from natural, renewable sources, including vegetable oils and animal fats. Although similar to diesel fuel which is petroleum-derived, biodiesel has superior emission properties. This week Osborn will be running a blend of 50 percent soy bean oil and traditional petroleum-based diesel.
For SCCA Pro Racing President Bob Wildberger, it only makes sense that the country’s most diverse motorsports organization, the Sports Car Club of America, would be involved in bringing motorsports to the next level of alternative fuels.
“Supporting the use and development of racing with alternative fuels is important to SCCA Pro Racing as we shape the future of motorsports. We are proud of our technical department’s commitment to provide a rules package that encourages the use of alternative fuels. The technology that is being developed with Chili Pepper Racing’s production-based biodiesel car will give our series valuable information that will benefit our fans, the consumers.”
Osborn’s No. 24 Volkswagen Jetta TDI will take to Sebring International Raceway March 16, at 11:05 a.m. (EDT). The race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel Sunday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. (EDT). Results, live timing and lap notes can all be found at www.world-challenge.com.