When not racing on asphalt,...
When not racing on asphalt, Spies races a Dirt Late Model that looks and performs remarkably similar to Dirt Late Models here in the U.S.
The ASATS Engine can be the solution to make stock car racing relevant once again. "There are 110 part numbers used to build the 525 package, 48 of them are production GM numbers that you can go to your local dealership and order the parts, which is pretty much unheard of in racing today," Schwanke explained. "What I'm trying to incorporate is economics. We have 12 dealers across the United States that we trained here in Minnesota to build these engines and work the program."
At the heart of bringing the Schwanke engine to South Africa was a goal to demonstrate that our industry needs to incorporate OEM technology into racing for the betterment of the sport. Everything from better fuel mileage to the environment as a whole would benefit from this type of package.
The reason it hasn't, according to Schwanke, is resistance from the racing community. But that seems to be changing. What the ASA was able to accomplish in South Africa proves that current OEM technology can be successfully built into a competitive race car.
"Not many people know this but Phakisa Freeway is located at over 3,000 feet of elevation, and we didn't have traditional race gas for the event. Everybody used aviation fuel," explained Schwanke. "Our engines didn't need any adjustment since the mass airflow sensor (MAF) automatically took care of adjusting the air/fuel mixture to the altitude. In a nutshell, these EFI packages allow competitors to go anywhere and everywhere to race regardless of altitude or fuel supply and without spending hours on end tuning their engines."
The EFI motor is truly a versatile powerplant, that is quickly gaining acceptance in international racing circles. Schwanke reports that a racer from Capetown who routinely competes against Spies on dirt has purchased two engines to run in his Dirt Late Model, a car and series that closely mirror DLM racing in the states.
Schwanke is also continuing development of these engines for a number of different series, including a 410 Sprint Car package running on methanol. The cost of that motor is less than $20,000 and it includes a radiator!
"We can take the LS3 platform engine and make packages ranging in power from 525 horses to more than 750 hp. It's truly a wonderful platform to use for race engines."
Schwanke envisions more advancements for this engine, one of which is drive-by-wire technology. Drive-by-wire essentially eliminates such things as a stuck throttle cable. Beyond proving its mettle in the FreeState 500, Schwanke says he has more than 500 of these types of engines in service in 14 different series of racing-from road racing to experimental aircrafts. The trip to South Africa was beneficial for Schwanke as he has established new relationships and is currently working with car owners in the U.S. to ship more cars to South Africa for its new ASA National African SuperSeries.
"The great thing about our event in the Republic of South Africa was that we were able to start with a clean slate. We had the opportunity to try new things like Schwanke's fuel-injected engine and Five Star Race Car Bodies' composite body," Huth said. "With us having that clean slate, we are able to produce a product that is cost effective to the race team, which allows more people to participate and be competitive. Grassroots racing, that is on the local, regional, and national level, needs to be heading in this direction for racing to survive."
While Huth, Schwanke, and Lemke have worked hard to develop a competitive and cost effective package using EFI, it was the on-track performance of Spies and Richardson that prove EFI not only works but can effectively compete. It won't be long before we see these engines racing and winning stateside.