Rahal Letterman Racing and Indy Racing are evidently losing primary sponsorship and support of the Ethanol folks in the United States. The ethanol folks are finance challenged these days like many American industries.
Indy Racing has chosen a direction that partners them with APEX-Brasil, and includes cooperation from UNICA (the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association) to identify those interested in supplying ethanol to the series. Basically the goal is to partner with a U.S.-based ethanol company to supply the IndyCar Series with corn-based ethanol.
There is predictable howling from imbeciles who are predisposed toward irrational hatred of the series and Tony George in particular, and much of it includes colorful ‘angst’ such as taunts of Italian cars powered by Japanese engines fueled and driven by Brazilians. I get the xenophobia, even if it is contrived to fit a flawed argument. On the other hand, the United States ‘big 3’ are among the worst car companies on the planet, are looking to suckle the government/taxpayer teat to bail them out of their own stupidity and all have expressed no interest in supporting Indy Racing. My reaction? Screw ‘em. Honda and Dallara have been fantastic partners.
Indy Racing’s new fuel partnership could be great on a number of levels:
-It expands the reach of the series
-It allows involvement by big companies not confined to the United States
-It goes beyond limiting fuel sources to corn. Producing ethanol from corn is actually one of the least efficient ways to do it. Sugar beets and many grasses can give more bang for the buck in terms of production efficiency, and that will no doubt be explored.
The Indy Racing League has led the way with ethanol, and still will. Only the provider and backing companies will be different. The squealing critics may even be surprised once they learn much of the fuel could still originate in the United States.
Indy Racing gets fuel, marketing and advertising dollars and team sponsorship. That is wonderful considering the state of the economy.
Suggestion for the future: Keep looking for even more forms of alternative power. Do not limit thinking to internal combustion. Expand the spirit of innovation even more. Be even more bold than this.