Toyota NSCS Kentucky EFI Test 7-7-11

TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) EFI Testing Notes & Quotes Kentucky Speedway – July 7, 2011

MIKE SKINNER, EFI Test Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing How was the first testing session with the Camry outfitted with EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection)? “We started out a little rocky this morning — we had some skips and a few bumps in the road. They’ve worked really, really hard. They’ve remapped this EFI system several times and they’ve got it running really, really good now. I think it’s going to be competitive. I think the lap times were respectable for what we’re doing and the car we’re doing it with. I think we’re far enough along now to put one of our full-time Sprint Cup drivers in it and get a second opinion and see what they think about it.”

Could you tell a difference between the EFI car and a non-fuel injected Camry? “I drove both today, as you know, and on the race track at first you could tell a lot of difference, but we didn’t have this thing worked out. Each map change that they’ve made — they went backwards, they went forwards, they went backwards and they went forward — the last three runs have all been forward. On the race track now, I’m not so sure you can tell a big difference at all.”
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Did it take any time to get the EFI Camry acclimated to the race track? “Out of the box, it was fine. I’ve done a lot of laps here. We used to test here a lot back in the RCR (Richard Childress Racing) days. I won a truck race here and I have a lot of laps in trucks here, so the racetrack wasn’t any problem at all.”

What is the next step in the development of the EFI system? “We’re starting to ‘nitpick’ things a little bit now and what I want to work on next is to get the car to come in and out of the pits and not be ‘ratty.’ We need to be able to maintain pit road speed. There’s a bit of gain there if the car isn’t surging at pit road speed, because if your car’s surging at pit road speed you have to go on the latter side — you have to go on the back side of that — and if you’re giving up a mile-an-hour on pit road, then on green flag starts you give up a lot of time on the race track. I want to work on getting this EFI car to where we get on and off pit road with it okay, we get in and out of the pits with it okay, and it will maintain pit road speed without surging.”

LEE WHITE, TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) president and general manager How do you feel about the move to EFI? “The injection thing, particularly at the level we’re doing it here, is something we have three decades of experience with. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, because we want to do it right. We’ve spent a lot of time working together with McLaren and Freescale, and of course with NASCAR. We’ve had weekly meetings with NASCAR to try and contribute with everything around the ECU that McLaren provides: the looming; the sensors; connectors between the ECU and harness that is in the engine compartment; how you deal with heat; how you deal with crash damage; if you have to change out an ECU what kind of connector can you use; and tried to help them from our experience. We’ve done some track testing that the NASCAR guys have done with us and participated and collected data along with our own guys for our use. It’s been a very cooperative project and I’m sure the other manufacturers have contributed, as well as engine builders that are out there — with Hendrick, Roush, Yates, Childress, Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing and TRD. It’s a very interesting program and we’re moving forward with it.”

How has today’s EFI test gone so far? “So far today, it’s been great. Most of the issues that I think we we’re going to have we’ve sorted through either on the dyno, or in private testing, and we were able to make way so far. It looks to me like everyone here has had a pretty trouble-free day. I know for us, it’s been a matter of logging laps and some minor changes to adjust the drivability issues around the garage more than anything. There’s nothing that we’ve seen in terms of performance on the race track that worries us at all.”

LEE WHITE, TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development), president and general manager (continued) What were the objectives for today’s EFI test? “Just logging laps. We’re in an environment here we can’t duplicate on the dyno — which is heat and vibration associated with coming into the garage area, idling around, parking, shutting it down, letting it heat soak, firing it back up, and all the things that are really impossible to do on a dyno. So, you’re just completing the test evolution.”

Are you already ahead of the curve and can you use what you know? “Frankly, I think we’re still trying to catch up for the carburetors. The carburetors are so highly evolved and do certain things so well, I’m not sure at this point I think we’re still a few horsepower behind the carburetors are. Given what happens with the phenomenon of charge cooling with the carburetor sucking the air through at very high velocity, which actually cools the air to a great degree and then mixes it with fuel in that process, you don’t do that with the fuel injection. You don’t have that charge cooling effect which helps multiple horsepower, so we’ll see. I think everyone here would agree that it will be very hard to make more power with the fuel injected engine than where we’re at with the carburetor. The amount of air that’s being allowed into the engine is very similar, because the throttle body that NASCAR has approved for use is very close to the same size as the carburetors we’ve all been using. I think they’ll probably be a bit greener — you’re not going to have the fuel spilling into the exhaust system when you back off the throttle. You can actually control that, so the fans will see a modest difference. You won’t see the black smoke from all the flames belching out the tailpipes. You won’t hear a bit of difference. You won’t see a bit of difference just watching the cars go around the race track. To me, that’s good. It’s not that type of thing where it’s going to be dramatically different senses that you are going to pick up that your hearing or seeing or smelling or anything. But, just the knowledge that it’s a step in that direction towards something that’s more relevant to what you buy on the showroom floor — there’s a certain number of fans that I think that means something to. Hopefully, as we move forward more and more of those people will come watch.”

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


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