Ilmor Engineering Brings Open Wheel Technology To Stock Car Racing

TOLEDO OH (10-23-07)?Although names like Franchitti, Speed and Villenueve attracted most of the attention, a newcomer to ARCA with more open wheel wins than those drivers have combined has quietly made its way into the ARCA RE/MAX Series. Ilmor Engineering, which has developed winning racing engines for the IndyCar Series and Formula One, made a successful return to stock car auto racing in 2007 using the ARCA RE/MAX Series as a platform.

Ilmor Engineering, a company with more than 200 open wheel victories to its credit, began supporting their entry into the ARCA RE/MAX Series with a participating manufacturer contingency program in 2007. The company made its inaugural appearance in the series at Daytona in February, providing engines for two young drivers. They posted their first top-10 when Damon Lusk finished ninth at Michigan International Speedway in June with Ilmor power under the hood.

?We were involved in the Busch Series with some teams but decided the best path of action was to come to ARCA where we would have some better quality teams available to us,? said Dave Dixon, Technical Department Manager of Ilmor Engineering. ?It?s incredibly difficult to break into any series, and the fact that we were able to supply our engines to some very good teams at Daytona at the beginning of the year led us to believe that ARCA was the best path to lead us into stock car racing. The reception we have received has been extremely warm and welcoming. It?s been a pleasure to work with everyone from the team principles to crew members to the ARCA officials.?

Ilmor Engineering, which has locations in both Brixworth, England (80 miles NW of London) and Plymouth, Michigan, made its initial appearance to American stock car auto racing in 2004, posting a victory at Daytona with driver Mike Wallace piloting a Biagi Brothers Racing entry outfitted with Ilmor?s version of the PJE Ford Engine.

However, beyond stock car auto racing, the company is recognized by most for its involvement in open wheel racing. Ilmor-designed engines are credited with earning two consecutive Formula One World Championships in 1998 and 1999 with driver Mika Hakkinen and McLaren-Mercedes. The company has been successfully involved at just about every level of professional motorsports throughout the United States and Europe. To date, Ilmor engines have won more than 180 IndyCar Series races, 13 Indy 500s, 34 Formula One races, and have contributed to more than two dozen stock car successes.

?One of the day-in, day-out goals for our company is to grow our credibility in the professional motorsports industry,? said Ron Drager, President of ARCA. ?Among the best methods to measure our progress in strengthening and elevating our position is to consider those partners who choose to make an investment in ARCA. Obviously, Ilmor Engineering?s reputation as a worldwide leader in racing engine construction is unparalleled. We are proud to have such an outstanding industry leader decide to establish a presence in the ARCA RE/MAX Series.?

Open-wheel drivers who have raced and won with Ilmor engines include Al Unser, Al Unser, Jr., Rick Mears, Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan and Helio Castroneves. With the company?s continued involvement in stock car auto racing in 2008, hopes are high that an ARCA RE/MAX Series driver?s name will soon be added to the list of competitors who have won using Ilmor Engineering technology.

?We are extremely excited to be involved with the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2008,? said Dixon. ?We think it is an outstanding opportunity to showcase our engine services and the performance of our engines, especially with all of the different tracks that the series competes on.?

Ilmor Engineering at a Glance: History, 1983-2007

1983 With backing from American businessman and race team owner Roger Penske, Ilmor Engineering is born under the direction of Britain?s Paul Morgan and Swiss, Mario Illien.

1986 Four-time Indy winner Al Unser becomes the first man to race with an Ilmor-designed engine. The initial design, a collaboration between Ilmor and General Motors, consists of an eight-cylinder turbocharged Chevrolet.

1987 Mario Andretti becomes the first driver to win with an Ilmor engine, posting a victory on the street course in Long Beach, California. The Chevrolet engine soon becomes dominant in American Racing, winning championships and Indy 500s with stunning power and reliability.

1993 Chevrolet opts to withdraw from open wheel racing and Ilmor finds a new partner in Mercedes-Benz.

1994 The Ilmor-Mercedes partnership makes a successful debut into motorsports, as the duo creates a top-secret power plant built specifically for the Indy 500, with Al Unser, Jr., driving to victory.

1997 Ilmor builds a state-of-the-art American headquarters in Plymouth, Michigan. The building currently serves as the base for all US racing operations, including Ilmor Marine, which builds highly-modified Dodge V-10 engines based on the production Dodge Viper engine for boats and off-road racers.

1998 Mercedes and Ilmor develop a Formula One engine, which driver Mika Hakkinen and McLaren-Mercedes use to earn two consecutive Formula One World Championships in 1998 and 1999.

2001 Founding partner Paul Morgan is killed in May 2001 while flying one of his vintage planes, tragically on the very day an Ilmor engine wins the pole for the Indy 500. Despite the loss, Ilmor forges ahead winning the Indy 500 in a Penske Racing car.

2002 Penske Racing wins the 500 again with Ilmor developed engines

2003 Ilmor Engineering partners with Honda Performance Development of Santa Clarita, California, to produce engines for the IRL Indy Car Series which continues today with great success

2004 Ilmor enters the NASCAR Busch Series in 2004 with its own version of the Ilmor/PJE Ford Engine, posting a victory at Daytona Int?l Speedway in the Winn-Dixie 250 with driver Mike Wallace piloting a Biagi Brothers Racing entry.

2005 Ilmor separates from long-term partner Mercedes-Benz, allowing the company to partner with multiple manufacturers whilst continuing the successful association with Penske Jasper, a combination which continues today.

2007 After a brief hiatus, Ilmor returns to stock car auto racing via the ARCA RE/MAX Series, with plans to compete in the series on a full time basis in 2008.

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