Iaia debuted his Ecotec Midget...
Iaia debuted his Ecotec Midget at the 2009 PRI show although it would be another 6 months before it saw actual competition.
In the motor's debut race at Placerville (CA) Speedway in June 2009, Silverman drove his No. 98 Stealth/RRE Ecotec to a Second place heat race finish behind David Pricket in a traditional full Midget. During the main event, Silverman improved from his 15th starting position to 8th before an incident with another car at two laps to go put him out of the race.
"It's very competitive even with full Midgets," says Silverman. One reason is the flatness of the torque curve mentioned earlier. It allows him additional power coming out of the turns and on restarts. "You can beat other cars out of the corner with this motor all day long," he says.
But that's not the only advantage to the Ecotec according to the 18-year-old racer. "With the Focus you had to really keep your momentum up constantly or you'd find yourself in the dust and it would take you two laps to get back up to speed. This engine is the opposite, if you have to get out of the gas for any reason you still have plenty of motor to catch right back up."
It's that flat torque curve again. The ability to pull hard off the corner is exactly what enables Silverman and the other Ecotec-equipped drivers to hang in the Top 10 with full Midgets, which have substantially more horsepower.
Racers will no doubt have something to smile about with the new Ecotec; performance, reliability, and versatility all in a single engine package for under $10,000.
Beyond those three items, perhaps the most significant feature of this engine is the fact that it could be called a green engine. "What," you say? An environmentally friendly race engine-how does that work? It all comes back to fuel economy.
"At that Placerville race we ran the entire evening-practice, qualifying, heat race, 30-lap main event and we did well and we burned right at 2 gallons of fuel for the whole night," says Iaia. Remember that's methanol which you have to burn up to 2.5 times more volume than gas to produce the same BTU. By comparison Iaia says a typical full Midget probably went through 12-15 gallons that night.
"Most of that has to do with the fact that with a mechanical fuel injector you're just constantly pouring fuel at the thing and hoping it lights. It's one of the reasons that mechanical fuel injection works OK with methanol and doesn't work so well with gasoline. It's a more forgiving fuel."
Since the Revolution engine features electronically controlled sequential port fuel injection Iaia is giving the motor exactly the amount of fuel it wants and needs to make the power and no more. The truth of the matter is that when you compare the fuel consumption figures on the Revolution engine to a traditional Midget engine and factor in $4 per gallon for methanol, the savings on fuel alone could pay the average guy's tire bill.
According to Iaia, the marketplace acceptance for his new engine has been surprisingly positive. "When I first brought the Focus Midget to the playing field I got a lot of guff from the old school Midget guys because here was this modern technology, twin-cam, four-valve engine and I got a lot of grief from a lot of people saying things like, 'That's not going to work. You can't run methanol through an engine like that,' and more. Fortunately for me it did work and it brought a lot of new people into Midget racing. If it did nothing else it restocked the ranks of Midget racing across the country with new drivers."
Iaia's track record with the Focus has played into the rapidly growing interest in the Revolution engine. But the additional credibility wasn't the only thing that has helped the Revolution Ecotec. Time is a big factor also. "The last time I saw a side-breather pushrod engine outside a Midget was in a forklift," quips Iaia. But he's right. Two-valve push-rod four-cylinder motors are a thing of the past when it comes to OEM technology.