Based on the dyno tests thus far conducted, what conclusion can you draw about the impact of this project on the circle track community, both short and longterm?
"I think if you were to ask just about any racer which is more efficient, carburetors or electronic fuel injection, my gut feeling is most of them would respond with the correct answer. What I believe we're doing with this project is documenting the fact that electronic-fuel-injected engines have the potential to be legitimate oval track race engines.
In particular, when you start comparing the torque curves produced by these engines (compared to those carbureted) and where in the overall rpm range EFI engines produce their torque, I think racers will find thaton-track performance will be superior because additional torque is available earlier in the engine speed range.
We talk all the time about being 'smooth' in how power is applied, particularly by the driver, and it has been shown that a broader and flatter torque curve helps contribute to this condition. I suspect there'll be some racers who pick up on this opportunity and begin thinking about how they can set up their cars to take advantage of a reshaped EFI torque curve.
Longterm, I'd like for the circle track racing community to eventually look back on this project and realize we were simply trying to expand their thinking to include a more environmentally conscious approach for sustaining this and other types of racing. We're not advocating replacing any form of racing, but seeking to branch out beyond conventional thinking."
What immediate and longer term issues do you think need to be resolved in bringing the benefits of this project more into the mainstream of circle track racing?
"Let me answer the question where the EFI issue is concerned. I think there are two things that plague EFI in circle track racing right now, one of which is durability of components. For example, I was recently discussing the CT525 engine with a principle in a sanctioning organization and he said, 'There's absolutely no way this engine will make it in circle track racing because of all the coil packs sitting on top of the engine-they won't hold up to dirt racing.' I look at this as 'perceived' durability, not based on experience. So I think the perceived durability of electronic components and systems in a harsh racing environment is a concern that needs to be addressed.
Possibly of higher concern among race promoters, the other issue is a notion that allowing the use of electronics in racing provides an increased opportunity for cheaters to bring in technologies like traction control. I really think this concern is based on a lack of understanding how EFI engines can be made to work in a racing environment. But that can change and it's likely a forward thinking promoter who will eventually dispell that myth.
On the 'green' side involving catalytic converters and making race engines cleaner, I think the immediate issue is engineering the cats and related systems to the point of effectively and efficiently handling 700-800hp racing engines. I see this as less of a perception issue and more of an engineering issue, because we won't need to deal with faulty perceptions until the engineering goals are met."
What questions do you see arising from this project and how do you perceive responding to them?
"I think some people will question our motives. I don't want readers to think that we are advocating abandoning traditional carbureted engines. We're not. As I've said before, this project is about the expansion of our industry by embracing new technology and bringing new people into oval track racing. EFI is the future, but carbureted motors are not going anywhere-there's room for both.