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NASCAR partners for fuel injection

Posted on: February 11, 2011 1:21 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 2:14 pm
Posted By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - NASCAR took another step toward introducing fuel injection to the sport on Friday when the sanctioning body introduced McLaren Electronic Systems and Freescale Semiconductors as partner companies to assist with the process.

NASCAR and its two new partners made the announcement Friday at the Daytona International Speedway media center.

The change from engines with carburetors to fuel injection will take place in 2012 with testing and development of engine packages taking place during this season.

NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton promised the move to fuel injection would not take place before 2012 and Friday's announcement finalized the timetable for the new engine configuration.

The engine development will only be for the Sprint Cup Series while the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series will remain utilizing carburetors.

One issue that has always been a roadblock to NASCAR changing from carburetors to fuel injection system engines has been the ability for the sanctioning body to police things and keep teams from massaging the rules outside their guidelines.

But Pemberton is confident the system NASCAR will introduce in 2012 will not encourage cheating.

"We are confident with McLaren and with Freescale these systems will be bulletproof, will be cheat proof," said Pemberton.

Pemberton also said restrictor plates will still be used at Daytona and Talladega but will fit on the throttle body when the switch to fuel injection is made.

While McLaren has a long history of Formula One competition this is the company's first foray into NASCAR and the fuel injection system produced for the Sprint Cup Series will be exclusive and specific to stock car racing.

From Team Release
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 11, 2011) – The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced today a historic technology partnership with Freescale Semiconductor and McLaren Electronic Systems to develop and integrate fuel injection systems into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, targeted for the 2012 season.

Freescale will provide the processors for McLaren’s engine control units (ECUs) that will be used to manage the fuel and ignition systems in the engines for all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars, replacing carburetors which have been used in the series since its inception in 1949. NASCAR and its top series teams will test the technology during the 2011 season with the anticipation of the systems being rolled out for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

The fuel injection system will bring increased technology and efficiency to the NASCAR Sprint Cup cars while at the same time complementing the car’s high performance. This announcement marks the most significant strategic change to NASCAR’s engine platform in decades. As part of this program, Freescale is designated as the “Official Automotive Semiconductor of NASCAR” and McLaren the “Official Engine Control Unit of NASCAR.”

“This move gives us an additional opportunity to incorporate the best technology in our race cars that will enhance the sport in a variety of ways,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “Selecting these two industry leaders reflects our commitment to this new technology which our manufacturers and teams have embraced. This is a positive step that will provide greater fuel efficiency and a greener footprint while maintaining the same great competition we have seen on the race track.”

For decades, most of the parts and equipment on NASCAR race cars have been highly customized for racing but at the same time relevant in standard automobiles. This move to fuel injection brings back an important synergy between these two vehicle types.

ECUs maximize each racing team’s ability to get the most performance and best fuel economy under all race conditions. With this announcement, plans call for every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race team to use a control system with Freescale’s advanced 32-bit Power Architecture <sup style="outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; padding: 0px; margin: 0px; border: 0px initial initial;">® </sup>  based engine management processors at its core, beginning in 2012. These same processors power millions of today’s most energy efficient engines.

The ECUs are tamper-proof, ensuring that only approved software may ever be run during a race weekend. Additionally, NASCAR will have special electronic tools at its disposal during every event to ensure the legality of all ECUs.

 “Freescale’s partnership with NASCAR and McLaren goes beyond a simple business relationship,” said Henri Richard, senior vice president and chief sales and marketing officer at Freescale Semiconductor. “It reflects our shared values in the automotive industry and our common dedication to technology improvement, high performance, energy efficiency and leadership in safety. It also continues to demonstrate the success of the Power Architecture as the leading microcontroller architecture in the automotive segment. NASCAR trusts us to provide cutting-edge automotive solutions for the next generation of engine management. Our products and technology will power every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car next year and we are honored to be the sole automotive semiconductor provider for America’s largest motorsport.”

Since 1966, McLaren has a legacy of racing success in the United States, totaling 43 victories during its tenure in the Can-Am Challenge, 10 wins at the U.S. Grand Prix and three wins at the illustrious Indianapolis 500. In addition, McLaren Electronics Systems has been a supplier to NASCAR teams since 2005 and also provides the ECUs that will be available late summer 2011 in the McLaren MP4-12C high-performance sports car. Freescale technology has been at the heart of McLaren’s engine control and data systems racing technology since 2000 and it provides the power behind all of McLaren’s major racing programs. Freescale is the largest U.S. based producer of automotive electronics and its technology enables virtually all automotive innovation in use today, from advanced engine systems to navigation and active safety.

“We are excited to build on our existing relationships with NASCAR and Freescale for this critical technology,” said Peter van Manen, managing director, McLaren Electronic Systems Limited. “McLaren has been providing reliable, high performance electronics to professional motorsports and other high performance automotive applications in North America, Europe and Asia for more than 20 years and we are both proud and delighted to be bringing our ECU technology into NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series.”

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