McLaren announced this month that they are forming a partnership with NASCAR but it’s not what you think.
NASCAR announced that they are finally implementing the technology that every street car has had for decades, fuel injection. As reported by Fox Sports, McLaren will produce the engine control units for the fuel injection systems slated to be implemented for the 2012 season. This is a major rule change as NASCAR has used carburetors since the series was started in 1949. The cars used in the racing series have continued to distance themselves from the stock cars upon which they are based, the “stock” cars that travel to the racetracks these days share little more than the namesake of the cars sold in dealerships. The fuel delivery, engines, body panels, suspension, and basically everything else that makes up a racecar are vastly different than what the car manufacturers produce. There’s a good reason for that though, the demands put on these cars in racing conditions vary greatly from what you and I ask of our cars during the daily commute.
NASCAR Chairman Brian France stated, ““We’re on a steady march to more technology in the cars, which is historically unlike us in some respects, provided that it doesn’t burden the teams with additional costs that don’t translate to our fan base, and obviously that we can enforce whatever new technologies. The final thing is to make sure that it makes racing better. No question about it, fuel injection is something we’re going to evolve to here in the short run.”
Most teams aren’t concerned with history though, they want to win races. Throughout the history of NASCAR many teams haven’t exactly followed the rules to do so, so of course the NASCAR officials will need to be able to ensure a level playing field. Officials say they will only allow approved software in the engine control computers and that there will be special tools at each track to ensure teams don’t try and get creative with the new technology. Teams shouldn’t be too worried though, the added control that fuel injection affords should increase the power that their race engines produce. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President of Competition, confirmed that fuel injection on NASCAR engines will “make the same horsepower if not more.” He also elaborated on the overall impact on NASCAR, “This move gives us an additional opportunity to incorporate the best technology and efficiency to the NASCAR Sprint Cup cars while at the same time complementing the car’s high performance,” Pemberton said. “This is a positive step that will provide greater fuel efficiency and a greener footprint while maintaining the same great competition that we have seen on the race track.”