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Green oil, fuels adopted by IMSA's U.S. Le Mans

Racing entity that includes Porsche and Ferrari implements green oil and fuel options. G-Oil, made from renewable animal fats, is a now the official motor oil.

G-Oil's 5W-30 motor oil is biodegradable. Green Earth Technologies

G-Oil, made from in part from animal fats, is a now the official motor oil of the International Motor Sports Association's American Le Mans Series.

The two groups announced the change in a joint statement released Thursday.

The sanctioning by the International Motor Sports Association is an added bonus for Green Earth Technologies for attracting consumers. The company's G-Oil SAE 5W-30 received certification in early March from the American Petroleum Institute for meeting the performance specifications standards for gasoline engine oils. It then got the go-ahead to use the certification logo on its packaging.

Prior to that, the Connecticut-based company was only able to offer a 2-Cycle G-Oil and a 4-Cycle 10W-30 G-Oil for use in things like tractors and lawn mowers.

"Green Earth Technologies' G-Oil and their eco-friendly business model is a perfect match for our series," Scott Atherton, the American Le Mans Series president and CEO, said in a statement. "We anticipate additional environmentally focused companies to follow Green Earth Technologies' lead."

The change is part of a big push by the American Le Mans Series to distinguish itself as the environmentally friendly racing organization.

All cars in IMSA's American Le Mans Series can now run on one of four alternative fuels: cellulosic E85, E10, clean sulfur-free diesel, or gas-electric hybrid.

The push began a few years ago, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy approached IMSA to help them with an image problem. In IMSA's own words, it was told that there was a need for "something to demonstrate to the U.S. public and automakers alike that fuel efficiency could be cool and sexy."

Unlike other racing entities, the IMSA organization in both the United States and Europe focuses on engineering innovations in the cars, rather than driver skills exclusively, which allows more leeway from year to year on how cars can be made and run. This made the IMSA a candidate for introducing green technology into racing, according to the American Le Man Series.

In 2002, the 24 Hours at Le Mans, the legendary French endurance race run by IMSA, was won by Audi, with its diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI. That year, E10 was also introduced at American Le Mans as a fuel option.

In 2008, American Le Mans introduced E85, which used only cellulosic ethanol, not ethanol from cereal products. This year, the first E10 electric hybrid car is racing.

The move to G-Oil, while interesting, in terms of giving the product more legitimacy, is less significant in terms of how it might change IMSA.

While the G-Oil logo will take prominence at racing events, and be used by all IMSA service vehicles, it has not yet been made mandatory for the race cars themselves. Of course, the racing season has already started. The American Le Mans Series could decide to include it as a rule for next year.