Speaking at the opening of the First International Brazil-Biofuels Exhibition in Sao Paolo this week, Presidential chief of staff Dilma Rousseff announced that a memo of understanding had been signed between the national trade promotion agency, APEX-Brasil, and the Indy Racing League to supply ethanol to the sanctioning body for use in its premier racing series. The IRL's open-wheel single-seat Indy Cars have been fueled by pure ethanol since 2007, when they made the transition from a 90/120 methanol/ethanol mix.
No other specifics were provided as to exactly how much or what percentage of this renewable biofuel Brazil will be supplying to the IRL in 2009. However, teams contesting the 23-race schedule -- which as always will be highlighted by the Indianapolis 500 --are expected to burn through about 120,000 gallons of ethanol during the course of the year.
Commenting on the pact, Alessandro Teixeira, president of the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, confirmed that, "The (deal) is part of the strategy to promote the Brazilian biofuel as a clean and sustainable energy." He also noted that his country will be allowed to promote its ethanol and other products during the various racing events. One of the key advantages of this Brazilian-sourced product is that it's derived from sugar cane, which makes it cheaper to produce than the corn-based ethanol currently being manufactured here in America. Presently, Brazil and the U.S. account for about 75 percent of the world's supply of ethanol.