Officials from Ilmor Engineering and the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) are celebrating the 100th ARCA Ilmor 396 engine, manufactured by Ilmor for use in competition in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
“This is a great milestone for the ARCA Ilmor 396,” said Ilmor president, Paul Ray. “It truly shows that a fixed spec. racing engine can be very successful when you have the level of commitment ARCA has shown to the bold changes instituted over the past two years.”
ARCA introduced the engine package option for use in competition in 2015, and the program has been an unqualified success. ARCA team owners initially were restrained in their acceptance of the new program. However, on-track performance prompted race teams to convert to the ARCA Ilmor 396 engine package at a dramatic rate, creating an aggressive production schedule for the technicians at Ilmor to meet the demand.
“This program definitely started with a bang when, at the last minute, the teams advised us that they favored starting at Daytona in Feb. 2015 over the planned March 2015 race at Mobile (Ala.),” continued Ray. “That simple change created a mammoth challenge for Ilmor and our supply partners. Fortunately, with a lot of hard work and a little luck, Daytona was a resounding success. Today, with 100 new engines, and over 100 rebuilds, the engine is running strong.”
Since the ARCA Ilmor 396 option became eligible for competition, more than 50 teams have purchased engines, and the power plant is undefeated since its debut at Daytona in February 2015. 63% of all teams entering race events have utilized the ARCA Ilmor 396, winning all 40 races. Additionally, there have been 25 different race winners in the 40 events, including 18 first-time ARCA race winners. Car counts have increased by 7% since the engine was introduced, with more cars finishing on the lead lap each year since the introduction.
“Our goal was to achieve equity and durability in engine performance in combination with cost containment,” added ARCA president Ron Drager. “Ilmor offered a reliable, high performance engine to all teams at a cost-effective price per mile. Given Ilmor’s blue-chip reputation in motorsports, we were pleased they elected to participate in the ARCA Racing Series and to develop the ARCA Ilmor 396. The on-track performance of the ARCA Ilmor 396 has performed beyond our goals and expectations.”
The ARCA Ilmor 396 is a purpose-built racing engine, developed and assembled by Ilmor Engineering. The 396 cubic-inch displacement steel block engine delivers over 700hp and 500lb-ft, running at 7,500rpm.
The ARCA Ilmor 396 is fuel injected with a Holley Electronic Control Unit (ECU) controlling the entire fuel injection and ignition systems. Additional participating manufacturer components included in the engine purchase price: Quarter Master bell housing; flywheel; clutch; starter; Holley EFI fuel delivery system (throttle body, fuel rails, ACCEL coils and wires), plus spark plugs; oil pump; alternator and main engine wiring harness. The engine is sealed and banded, with all service performed exclusively by Ilmor at-track and at their Plymouth, Michigan manufacturing location.
The agreement between ARCA and Ilmor is for a minimum five-year term, 2015-2019, allowing ARCA teams to purchase and own the ARCA Ilmor 396 engine. The purchase price of the engine is US$41,450, plus tax and shipping, with a conditional 500-mile warranty and trackside service technical support included in the purchase price. Teams utilize the same ARCA Ilmor 396 at short tracks, superspeedways, intermediate tracks, road courses and dirt tracks.