Interview with Wolfgang Hustedt Bosch Motorsports Manager, North America.
Here are a few questions on Bosch’s involvement with NASCAR. I thank all those at Bosch, for their willingness to help.
1. Meier/Motor Age - What sparked the change to fuel injection in NASCAR®?
Hustedt/BOSCH: The fact is, no one uses carburetors any more. By switching over to fuel injection, NASCAR® is not only keeping in step with the rest of the racing world, but also, in the process, will garner all the advantages that go along with such a system. These include better fuel economy, cleaner-running engines and increased vehicle performance. As an exclusive NASCAR Performance partner, Bosch will supply wide-band oxygen sensors, specifically designed for NASCAR race cars which will provide essential data to the fuel injection engine management system. The new system will give NASCAR teams enhanced control over their vehicle’s performance on the race track. In other words, Bosch is helping NASCAR take definite strides toward achieving the performance goals it has dreamed of.
Besides, this move also allows NASCAR to share a new and exciting marketing story which will spark a debate among its fans and in the media and shine the spotlight on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as the 2012 racing season begins.
2. Meier/Motor Age – Please expand on Bosch’s role in the development of the injection system to be used. Did Bosch assist/lead the design or just advise on certain components? What testing was Bosch involved in, and with what team(s)?
Hustedt/BOSCH: As you are probably aware, Bosch developed and introduced the automotive oxygen sensor back in 1976 in response to tightening emissions regulations. So we have a longstanding history and a worldwide reputation of supplying high quality sensors to original equipment manufacturers (OEMS) and the aftermarket. Furthermore, as the technology leader, Bosch is continually upgrading its product lines. So, even before NASCAR made this announcement, Bosch received requests from three racing teams teams – Hendrick Motorsports, Penske Racing and Richard Childress Racing – to build fuel-injected engines as test beds. These teams were, essentially, spending a great deal of money to gain knowledge of how these new systems will operate in actual race conditions and provide them with the ability to get the maximum performance from their engines. We worked on 2 Chevys and a Dodge. All these engines had all Bosch components – ECUs, sensors etc.
3. Meier/Motor Age - Please provide a description of the system to be used. I know it’s multiport. What other sensor inputs will be used? Is this to be a MAF or speed density system?
Hustedt/BOSCH: It’s not a MAF sensor. It’s an alphaN (throttle angle/RPM) system. Other sensors include those for oil pressure, air temperature, throttle angle, lambda sensors, etc. They will also use a Bosch supplied electronic fuel pump. The Bosch fuel pump approved by NASCAR is the Bosch/CV Products in-tank electronic fuel pump. Bosch is one of two fuel pump suppliers approved by NASCAR.
4. Meier/Motor Age - Are teams free to outsource their own injectors, controllers and other components other than the oxygen sensors?
Hustedt/BOSCH: No. Injectors have to be approved by NASCAR. At this point, only Bosch fuel injectors have been approved by NASCAR. Other components such as ignition coils, controllers, and other sensors can be from other suppliers. Right now many teams have opted to use Bosch ignition coils.
5. Meier/Motor Age - What correlations can you offer between the use of fuel injection on a stock car versus the same system on a passenger car? What lessons from one were applied to the other?
Hustedt/BOSCH: There are a lot of similarities between the fuel injection system in passenger cars and racing cars. Fuel injection in racing migrated from passenger cars. Racing’s severe environment provided an excellent test bed for all engine components.
6. Meier/Motor Age - If you could tell a group of professional technicians anything about how Bosch’s involvement with this program will impact them, what would you want to say?
Hustedt/BOSCH: Actually, NASCAR is now applying the technology that professional technicians have been working with for the last 25-plus years. However, though the systems closely resemble each other, there are some differences. Passenger cars are built to achieve the goals of safety, optomization of fuel mileage, and clean emissions which are essentially the same goals that NASCAR is looking to achieve by switching to fuel management.