Racing Experiences with Methanol and Ethanol-Based Motor-Fuel Blends 750124
Methanol and ethanol have interesting possibilities as motor fuels and have been used as such, mostly in blends, since the early days of the automobile. However, specialized experience with alcohols as high-performance racing fuels more or less parallels World War I era results with substitute motor fuels. These indicate several types of practical operational problems with water solubility, plastics solvent action, metal corrosion and galvanic effects, low air-fuel ratios and low calorific content, and high latent heat. Simply switching to alcohol-gasoline blends in conventional automotive fuel systems and engines is not as straightforward a matter as some short-term laboratory tests might tend to indicate.
Some of the modern-day racing techniques for handling alcohol fuels include: anodizing and plating of nonferrous alloy fuel system and engine castings; using solvent-resistant plastics and corrosion-resistant metals; draining and flushing out the fuel system and engine with hydrocarbon-fuel oil mixes after running; using alcohol-soluble synthetic lube oils; sealing and storage of fuel containers and tanks so as to reduce atmospheric moisture absorption; using higher-energy ignition systems to better fire the “wet” alcohol fuels at high C.R.'s; and nearly tripling and doubling the fuel system capacity.