Getting the Jump On a Cleaner Fuel Source
Ethanol is a popular fuel with racers because it burns cooler than gasoline or methanol, which extends the life of the engine while providing the power needed for speed. Ethanol improves horsepower, torque and consistency. Plus, it’s more affordable than racing fuel. This is why it’s become a go-to fuel on the large and small racing circuit.
Why is ethanol a great race fuel?
Ethanol is a great race fuel because is has equal, if not higher, octane performance for high-compression motors when compared to other race fuels on the market. Plus, ethanol provides more torque and power, which helps give drivers the speed they need. On top of these benefits, ethanol is non-corrosive and less toxic, which is better for engine parts and more economical.
Ethanol also burns 20 to 30 percent cooler than racing gasoline. That means you can get more horsepower because of additional compression and airflow, helping extend the life of your engine. Ethanol is cleaner-burning, reducing the amount of toxic emissions coming out of the tailpipe. On top of these benefits, ethanol has not been associated with corrosion issues and is less toxic than methanol.
What is E85?
E85 is commonly thought to be 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. ASTM standards actually call for consumer E85 to be a blend of 51 to 83 percent ethanol with the rest being some blend of gasoline. The purpose is to allow less ethanol because 85 percent ethanol with 15 percent gasoline would not meet vapor pressure requirements for consumer use.
This poses a challenge for the racing community to acquire a consistent blend of E85 for performance since cars today can be very specific regarding vehicle calibrations. For information on how to purchase E85 race fuels, visit http://www.igniteracingfuel.com/.
How can I purchase ethanol for my performance car?
Since E85 can fluctuate so much and consistency is needed for performance and high-compression engines, Fueling the Truth does not recommend you buy racing fuel at the local gas station. Until consistent ethanol blends are more readily available, this site recommends Ignite Racing Fuel, which provides E98, E90 or E85. Ignite has a wealth of knowledge from their experience with all genres of racing, from sprint car to drifting to even boat racing. For information on how to purchase E85 race fuels, visit http://www.igniteracingfuel.com/.
What are the disadvantages of using ethanol as a race fuel?
The only disadvantage is that ethanol has a lower energy content than gasoline. That means it takes about 18 to 22 percent more ethanol to produce the same energy as gasoline. However, ethanol contains more BTUs than methanol.