We’ve all heard the hype about going green, but how do we do that and still maintain the integrity of our beloved sports cars? Michelin confronts these seemingly conflicting goals with their Green X Challenge. The Corvette race team has dived into this challenge with both feet and is leading the field not only on the track, but in creating greener cars. A recently released YouTube video showcases all the ways that the Corvette race team is facing the Green X Challenge head on.
The Michelin Green X Challenge is a competition at every race that gives different teams and car manufacturers incentives to come up with greener technology to run their race cars. This technology is then transferred back to production street cars to make the automotive world greener as a whole.
Michelin started this challenge with a greener product of its own. The new race tires that the Corvette race team is using this year are made of more environmentally friendly materials. Through the developmental process, Michelin has created these greener tires that still hold up to the torturous conditions of racing. The benefit is not just to the environment, though – low rolling resistance (and higher top speeds) are an added benefit.
As seen in the video, the Corvette race team has gone much further than simply changing tires, however. In their front suspension, the Corvette team is running ceramic wheel bearings. This creates less drag on the car which also allows the Corvette race cars to go faster. By increasing their top speed potential through decreased drag, it increases fuel mileage in races. The wheel bearings last about 10,000 miles of track use, cutting down on materials and parts that the team must replace in a season. Carbon fiber doors on the race cars reduce the cars’ weight and also decrease drag. Less horsepower is used, 1.8 HP to be exact, to run the air conditioner on the race cars. This is a significant decrease in the power needed from the 5 HP needed before. Energy efficient HID headlight bulbs light the way for the night races on the Corvettes and use half as much power as a traditional bulb while running brighter.
As Doug Roth, Corvette Racing’s Engineering Director, says in the video, automotive racing has always been an expansive arena for creating and testing new technology. The Green X Challenge is taking advantage of this idea and paving the way for environmental and energy efficient technologies.
We commend the Corvette race team and GM for really taking the Green X Challenge seriously. We wish them luck in winning the Green X Challenge and look forward to seeing what race-inspired green technology is put on GM cars in the future.