11th February 2011 - NASCAR's decision to switch from carburettors to fuel-injected engines is as big a step-change as you can imagine in the world of North American motorsport.
And the involvement of McLaren Electronics, who will work in partnership with Freescale Semiconductor to develop and integrate new fuel-injection and engine control systems into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from 2012, is a similarly significant step for the renowned British electronics specialist based at Woking (Surrey, UK).
Announced on Friday at Daytona Beach -- the spiritual home and headquarters of NASCAR -- the deal means that, from 2012, McLaren Electronics will supply the engine control systems to the two biggest racing series in the world: Formula 1 and NASCAR.
And while McLaren Electronics' Formula 1 involvement is already well documented (we've built a rock-solid reputation as a supplier of reliable and tamper-proof standard ECUs to every grand prix team since 2008), our foray into NASCAR looks set to be an equally ground-breaking journey for both parties.
For NASCAR, the arrival of fuel-injection will end the carburettor era, which has stretched across the stock car championship's entire six-decade history.
It's a timely change: although the carburettor still remains a robust and tamper-proof piece of classic mechanical engineering, across the wider automotive and motorsport worlds its time has passed. Indeed, fuel injection is a far more straightforward and efficient means of controlling ignition and injection across the engine's complete operating range. That means performance with better fuel economy.
McLaren Electronics' ability to produce technically superior and tamper-proof solutions means that it will continue to guarantee that the NASCAR community operates on an absolutely equal playing field.
"To have earned a role as a standard equipment supplier to the two most important motorsport series in the world is an incredible achievement for us," said McLaren Electronics' managing director Peter van Manen. "Today's announcement means that, from 2012, McLaren Electronics will be supplying standard ECUs to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
"We're extremely proud of the reputation we've built up in just a few short years as official ECU supplier in Formula 1, and we're absolutely confident that the same standards of excellent service, reliability and impartiality will continue to flourish when we cross the Atlantic to begin this exciting sporting relationship with the full NASCAR grid.
"We're absolutely delighted to be playing such a central role in the largest-growing sporting spectacle in North America."
Ron Dennis, Executive Chairman of McLaren Group, added: "As a group, McLaren is extremely serious about its involvement in North America: as well as looking ahead to our NASCAR involvement, the next 12 months will also see us introduce the MP4-12C high-performance sports car to the market.
"With both projects, we're keen to ensure that our expertise produces the most efficient and effective solutions while also safeguarding the incredible reputation that the McLaren name has built up over nearly 50 years of motorsport competition."
Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's director of competition, added: "This move gives us an additional opportunity to incorporate the best technology in our race cars that will enhance the sport in various ways.
"Selecting these two industry leaders [McLaren Electronics and Freescale Semiconductor] 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 track."
The programme will see Freescale designated as the 'official automotive semiconductor of NASCAR'; McLaren Electronics will become the 'official engine control unit of NASCAR'.
-source: mclaren electronics