NASCAR has announced 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.
“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,” says 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 racetrack.”
This announcement marks the most significant strategic change to NASCAR’s engine platform in decades, says Pemberton. As part of this program, Freescale is designated as the “Official Automotive Semiconductor of NASCAR” and McLaren the “Official Engine Control Unit of NASCAR.”
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®-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.”
“We are excited to build on our existing relationships with NASCAR and Freescale for this critical technology,” says Peter Van Manen, managing director, McLaren Electronic Systems Limited. “McLaren has provided reliable, high performance electronics to professional motorsports and other high-performance automotive applications for more than 20 years, and we are both proud and delighted to be bringing our ECU technology into NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series.”