CHEVY NSCS AT KENTUCKY – JEFF ANDREWS, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS DIRECTOR OF ENGINE OPERATIONS Q & A ON EFI

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES

QUAKER STATE 400

KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY

CarParts.com
American Muscle

TEAM CHEVY NOTES & QUOTES

JULY 7, 2011

SHORT Q&A WITH JEFF ANDREWS, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS DIRECTOR OF ENGINE OPERATIONS REGARDING ELECTRONIC FUEL INJECTION TEST FOR NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES AT KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY:

IS THIS FIRST TEST ON A NASCAR-SANCTIONED RACE TRACK ABOUT WHAT YOU EXPECTED?

“I think so. I think we have about six outings so far. We’ve been just working with some tuning issues which we would think would be typical for this car and this track and kind of our first experience about throttle tip-in and drivability and some things. We made some changes during the break to try some different packages and go forward. So everything so far has been really smooth.”

EXPLAIN WHAT THE DRIVER DOES TO HELP DURING THE TEST AND HOW YOU ADJUST FUEL INJECTION FOR HIS DRIVING STYLE

‘What we’re working through is a feel of years of experience from drivers from a carburetor. Be it good or bad, be it some inherent things there with the carburetor that when you work with them for 30 years in this type of racing that you get pretty good at it; and the driver gets a feel that he likes with it. And the carburetor is kind of tuned to his liking. When you get here with fuel injection and you start working within the fuel injection system to where you actually have a fuel cut-off so to speak, under partial throttle conditions; and do when you turn that back on and how much fuel do you put in the engine when you turn that back on; just getting used to those perimeters and the sensitivity of it and running through different fuel maps during this test to get the driver’s feedback. What we’re trying to come away with here today is just a baseline of a good test. We’ve got a matrix of things to go through. Whether the change is good or bad, we just want to know that the direction we went had an impact and then we can sit down and talk about future testing plans.”

DO YOU ADJUST THE EFI TO WORK WITH EACH DRIVER’S STYLE?

“We’re working here today with Aric Almirola from the Nationwide Series. We’re using Aric because we’re familiar with his feedback from being involved with him in the engine program on the NNS side with JR Motorsports. Again, we just tried to start with a very basic set-up for him, fuel-wise and drivability-wise, and we made some minor changes and some that were very aggressive. We’re just trying to get a feel of the sensitivity. If it were Jimmie Johnson, would that change significantly? Sure. That’s very possible that he would have a different opinion than Aric would. But really, we’re not really interested at this point in having say four or six individual tune-ups so to speak, per driver. We’re just working with the system, for really the first time in an at-track environment and trying to understand. It’s like we’ve got this new toy, right; and we’ve got 100 knobs here to turn, so which ones are the sensitive ones? And when we come back, I’m sure we’ll do things differently. There’s always got to be a first time and we’re just trying to work through a consistent matrix here of tests.”

DOES THIS REQUIRE DIFFERENT EQUIPMENT, LIKE LAPTOPS, TO MANAGE AT THE TRACK; AND IS IT COMPLICATED?

“I don’t know that it’s complicated. It’s a change. It’s a great progression in technology for our sport. We welcome it. We’re excited about the challenge of going from a carbureted environment to where you come in here and you read the weather and look at the track conditions and you make changes to your carburetor and your ignition timing based on the way the weather is. Obviously with the fuel injection systems that have been supplied, that’s going to do that for you now automatically in terms of making the changes based on the water temp and the barometric pressure and different things. What we will input into it via our laptops say on Sunday morning or say for example a qualifying versus a race set-up is different fuel trims and different spark trims for a qualifying application versus a different mapping procedure for the race.”

WHAT CAN THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP FANS EXPECT TO SEE WITH THE IMPLEMENTATION OF FUEL INJECTION?

“From the fans side, they will not notice anything different. Maybe one of the biggest things that a fan would notice is a lot of times you get a lot of questions like, ‘What’s that big blue flame coming out of the right side of the car when the driver gets off the throttle or goes into the corner at Martinsville?’ That’s just fuel that has spilled out of the carburetor and gone through the engine in an off-throttle condition and is being burned out the exhaust pipe. You won’t see that any more. They’ll be some good efficiency gains that are being made there with this fuel system in terms of fuel economy. But in terms of performance, the power levels between a carbureted and a fuel-injected engine are very close; so you won’t see a dramatic increase in lap times. The car is still going to sound the same. It’s still a Chevrolet R07 fuel-injected racing engine and they’ll be no difference there for the fan.”

WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN A HOT DOG WRAPPER GETS STUCK ON THE GRILL DURING A RACE?

“One of the things about this system is that it does have the capability as water temperatures start going up, say for example from a hot dog wrapper on the grill, the system can start to enrich the motor based on that temperature increase and maybe buy you a few more laps of protection. It’s definitely not going to do anything to take the away the situation that might occur, but there are some protective systems in place that might help the engine get through the race.”

THIS IS A PRETTY BIG CHANGE FOR THE SPORT

“Oh, yes; we’re all excited. We’re excited about the technology. Our partners at Chevrolet have been a tremendous help to us in guiding us through this and helping us make this first step. So what we hope is that this is a good tool. It brings our level of racing closer to the level of technology that exists within our manufacturer at GM and Chevrolet.”

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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