We’re kicking around a new motto here at MPGomatic.com, “Burn Rubber, Not Gasoline” … and nothing exemplified it better this week than ACP Racing’s performance in this year’s X Games Rally Car Racing and Super Rally events. Drivers Andrew Comrie-Picard (ACP) and Samuel Hubinette each grabbed a Bronze medal in their Mitsubishi Evolution rally cars, while running on an Ethanol blend.
While full-on environmentalists may scorn automobile racing, the sport can be an essential way to develop and test technology that leads to fuel-savings (ie: aerodynamics) and encourage the switch to alternate fuels, such as ethanol (IndyCar), diesel (Volkswagen’s TDI Cup) or CNG (VW’s European Scirocco R Cup).
Short form racing (as opposed to 500 lap, 30 car fields) has the potential to deliver more thrills on less fuel. I had the good fortune to interview both ACP and Sam at the Formula Drift event in Wall, NJ earlier this year (see the video below).
ACP Racing summed their performance up at X Games 16 with the following release …
Los Angeles, California (ACP Racing) August 2, 2010 – ACP Racing, the top preparer of Mitsubishi rally team cars in North America, took two Bronze Medals this past weekend at X Games 16 in Los Angeles. The medals were the only ones taken by non-factory-supported cars and drivers at the event.
Andrew Comrie-Picard, five-time X Games competitor and principal of ACP Racing, took the Bronze in Rally Car Racing in his 2006 Evolution IX, and Samuel Hubinette, Comrie-Picard’s teammate in professional drifting, took the Bronze in the new discipline of SuperRally in ACP Racing’s 2008 Evolution X.
Comrie-Picard also finished sixth in SuperRally after a spin in traffic in the semi-final qualifier saw him miss a place in the final.
“This is a great result for the team” said Comrie-Picard. “Relative to our main rivals we have a very privateer effort, but this X Games shows that we really punch above our weight.”
Innovation has been the key to many of ACP Racing’s successes. At X Games this year, both competition cars ran almost pure ethanol fuel, which gave more power and also an environmental consciousness to the effort.
Ironically, the spin in the SuperRally semi-final qualifier was the result of contact between the two team cars, after Ken Block slowed with a mechanical problem in front of Comrie-Picard who was immediately in front of Hubinette. Comrie-Picard corrected his line to avoid Block and Hubinette was unable to avoid Comrie-Picard’s car, spinning him out and taking over the lead in the semi-final.
“It was a racing incident, pure and simple” said Comrie-Picard. “It’s something we have to get used to in SuperRally. There’s going to be unavoidable contact.”
Both Comrie-Picard and Hubinette are expected to continue competing in the new American sport of SuperRally under both the RallyCar RallyCross banner and the X Games SuperRally discipline in 2011. “It’s a mad, bad, racing format and its time has come” said Comrie-Picard. “I could hear the crowd screaming from inside the running car. That tells me the sport has a future.” A highlight of the entire X Games was the two ACP Racing team cars going over the 70-foot gap jump in tandem, nose-to-tail. The crowd was on its feet for this never-before-seen spectacle.