After 50 years of using and improving the beloved carburetor,
NASCAR went in a new direction in 2012, mandating fuel injection
systems in race cars for the first time through a partnership
with Freescale Semiconductor Inc. and McLaren Electronic Systems
NASCAR tested the technology during the 2011 season and kicked off
the new system at NASCAR's very first 2012 race, the Daytona 500.
Since the Daytona 500 is one of the most-watched automotive races,
the pressure was immense on McLaren and Freescale engineers to have
their system perform flawlessly.
"It (the change) was about competition on the track," said Steve
Nelson director of marketing for the Americas at Freescale. "When
you change the competition--introduce a new golf ball or
whatever--changing that introduces risk. How is it going to work
At the end of the 2012 NASCAR, Nelson and Dr. Peter van Manen,
managing director at McLaren Electronic Systems, talked
to EE Times about the design and how the systems performed
in a race conditions.
What's next for automotive electronics in racing? Believe it or not, the tail's wagging the dog: the power-efficient fuel sources and architectures that Detroit has adopted for commercial vehicles are making their way quickly into, for example, Formula One.