Editor’s Note: In recent years the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has seen a widening gap between well-funded race teams and those mom and pop teams that struggled to pay bills. That gap was primarily compounded by engine lease programs that cost multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars. The majority of these motors are essentially NASCAR Sprint Cup style power plants. As this month’s Circle Track hit the presses, ARCA made a major announcement concerning their engine package for 2015. Here is the official press release in its entirety. Rest assured that Circle Track will follow this story as ARCA gets set to blaze a new path for their series.
Automobile Racing Club of America President Ron Drager announced today that the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will introduce a progressive and innovative engine package option for use in competition beginning in 2015.
"I am pleased to announce today the conclusion to a long and extensive search to find the right strategic partner to help us address the challenges of rising costs in our series," stated Drager. "It is my pleasure to announce that Ilmor Engineering has partnered with us to develop the ARCA Ilmor 396, engine technology which provides a long term, stable platform delivering an economical and competitive option to our existing engine configurations."
The ARCA Ilmor 396 engine will be a purpose-built powerplant, developed and assembled by legendary engine builder Ilmor Engineering. The ARCA Ilmor 396 will deliver 700 horsepower and 500 ft. lbs. of torque, with durability and performance standards.
"We've partnered with ARCA to construct a durable, reliable engine capable of running 1500 miles between re-builds," affirmed Paul Ray, President of Ilmor Engineering.
"The teams will be able to use the same ARCA Ilmor 396 at short tracks or a superspeedway, a road course or the mile dirt tracks. We have begun to conduct extensive testing, and our plan calls for the first engines to be available for purchase by the teams by early December," Ray concluded.
The ARCA Ilmor 396 will be fuel injected, with Holley EFI technology regulating the Electronic Control Unit and the fuel injection system.
"Holley carburetors have powered ARCA racers over two million miles in the last two decades alone, so it is a natural transition for Holley fuel injection to deliver the fuel on the ARCA Ilmor 396," said Drager.
"We're proud to add ARCA and Ilmor to the growing list of sanctioning bodies, OEMs and professional level engine builders using Holley EFI electronics and hardware on their race engines," said Trevor Wiggins, Holley VP of Sales. "Our EFI engineering and tech groups are gearing up to assure this transition is seamless."
ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards teams will have the option of utilizing the new ARCA Ilmor 396 beginning in 2015, or can continue to use the open motor rules package currently in place.
"We have identified and are addressing the financial challenges of racing competitively faced by many ARCA teams," Drager said. "Our responsibility as the sanctioning body is to manage the bigger picture business model for all our stakeholders. The ARCA Ilmor 396 is the best engine option we can introduce for the long-term health of our series," Drager said.