Former GT2 entrant Corsa Motorsports has announced a revolutionary programme that will see the team enter a hybrid-powered Zytek in the LMP1 class in 2009.
The team will run as a factory team and is set to debut the new car later this year at Petit Le Mans in October.
The car is based on a Zytek 07S carbon fibre/aluminum monocoque and will be powered through a combination of an ethanol-fueled internal combustion engine and a three-phase induction electric motor. The ethanol-fueled engine is a newly designed Zytek 90-degree normally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 with four overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder with an output of 625 hp. The electric motor is a direct drive Zytek proprietary design powered by an on-board lithium-ion energy storage system with a kinetic energy recovery supplemental regeneration system.
"I am truly excited about this opportunity with Zytek,” team boss Steve Pruitt said. “Not simply because Zytek constructs one of the best Le Mans prototype cars, but because of the technological relevance this car represents as society looks to the world's need for global energy reform. The LMP1 chassis will be fitted with a full hybrid system - one that is untried in the harsh conditions of endurance racing.
“If it proves successful, it will transcend motorsports by its social and technical relevance. Bringing such technology forward in a safe, reliable and competitive manner is a true challenge. Our excitement is bolstered by the fact that the American Le Mans Series - the only remaining non-spec series - actively promotes the development and use of such technologies confirming the Series' position as the most relevant series in motorsports.
“As society begs for changes in energy consumption and carbon footprints, Corsa is pleased to have the opportunity to be a part of the research and development of this technology which will one day find itself beneficial to everyday lives outside of motorsport."
The new programme was revealed in Detroit ahead of the latest round of the season at Belle Isle, and ALMS CEO Scott Atherton was quick to welcome the plans.
"This is a landmark announcement not just in the American Le Mans Series but for North American motorsport in general," he said. "We have said for some time that our platform which encourages manufacturers to develop new technologies and relevant automotive innovation is ideally suited for the challenges the auto industry faces. And as concerns over oil, energy and climate change continue to play prominently in headlines around the world, here is an example that offers a practical, real-world advancement that will be tested and developed in the most extreme environment in the world.
"Zytek and Corsa Motorsports deserve admiration and applause for taking this tremendous step in bringing another alternative power source into the American Le Mans Series. We are thrilled with the confirmation of this ground-breaking entry debuting at Petit Le Mans and The Green Challenge as it is an ideal example of why the American Le Mans Series truly is the Global Leader of Green Racing."