Extensive dyno testing has taken place both in Michigan and California. This picture is fr
Once the motor hits 3,000 rpm, the two regulators work in concert to ensure 60 psi on the rails. Once the engine passes 3,000 rpm and approaches the redline, the bypass circuit will see in excess of 60 pounds and the poppet would open, thereby getting rid of the excess fuel pressure so the system doesn't overpressurize. In essence, Iaia is letting the system regulate itself based on pressure signals.
"I haven't completely abandoned the idea of going to an electric pump," says Iaia. "But the fact is we've run this setup many times quite successfully. Is it perfect yet? No, but it's pretty darn close."
Revolution's Ecotec Midget engine uses the MEFI5 Electronic Control Unit from GM which is its current version marine-based engine controller. Iaia says it has been a little more challenging than expected because the MEFI5 is a production unit that doesn't have some of the features the more exotic aftermarket controllers have, but it's extremely cost effective. It's also extremely robust which isn't surprising when you consider that it's made for the harsh marine environment. It may not have all the trick features of the aftermarket controllers but Iaia likes what it does have.
"We have variable camshaft timing with these things. We can sweep the cam 50 degrees under real time conditions to extract maximum torque. And that's really where that stuff comes in. In my experience on the dyno, it really doesn't do much for peak power numbers but what it does do is brings that torque on early and then holds it on much longer."
In this engine you don't really have the bell shaped torque curve that you're used to seeing with a mechanical engine. It's more of a ramp up, then a line, then a ramp down. It's much flatter, which speaks to a fuel economy issue that we'll get into shortly.
Here you can see the electronic brain of RRE's Midget Engine. The ECU is mounted on the fi
"We're making within 80 percent of peak torque from 3,000 rpm all the way to 6,300 rpm," Iaia says proudly. That translates into getting off the corner really strong. "It's definitely pushing you back in the seat all the way down the straightaway. Again, we don't have a gear to grab going down the straight-were stuck with one speed. So that's a very telling thing when the engine is pushing you all the way back in the seat 'til you can't stand it any more and you have to lift going into the corner. That's what we're after."
Start looking for belts and pulleys on this motor and you'll be looking for a long time. It doesn't have any, everything is driven by a power take off the engine. The motor features an ingenious combination power steering/fuel pump that is driven mechanically off the backside of the water pump. It's literally internally chain driven off the crankshaft so there are no external pulleys on the engine which on a Midget is a good thing. There has been more than one Midget driver to suffer the bad luck of having a chunk of mud or a rock knock a belt off.
The versatility of the ECU on RRE's Midget engine allows it to have two different performance levels out of one engine. The "Sportsman" setting delivers about 200 hp and is equivalent to the established Super Focus motors that race in many of the Focus divisions across the country. A simple programming switch and you can be running what Iaia calls the ASCS setting, which puts out about 250 hp and is comparable with most national Midget sanctions/rules
Finally the RRE Ecotec is a sealed motor which means no tapering with the guts of engine.
Electronic or mechanical is irrelevant. The bottom line is performance on the track, right? Dillon Silverman was one of the very first racers to get behind the wheel of an Ecotec-powered Midget. A former Outlaw Kart racer, the 18 year old made the jump to Midgets and is also currently testing Sprint Cars.
"I like it a lot better than the Focus. I can break the wheels loose with it a lot easier," says Silverman. "It's a lot of fun to drive. The torque curve makes the engine real racey."