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GM's Jim Covey wins engine designer award
After scoring 14 victories in 31 Nextel Cup events since its debut, the new Chevrolet R07 engine and its development team are already being recognized with a prestigious global award. Jim Covey was recently named the 2007 Race Engine Designer of the Year for his efforts in overseeing the development of the new Chevrolet R07 engine that debuted in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series this season.

Covey, the NASCAR engine technical manager for GM Racing, was in Oxford, England on November 29 to receive the award at the 2007 World Motorsport Symposium. Covey accepted the award on behalf of the GM Racing engineering team who utilized GM’s in-house technical resources to develop the first purpose-built NASCAR racing engine. Jim has been an extraordinary leader working alongside a very talented group of GM Racing engineers who have devoted years to building the Chevrolet R07 engine,” said Mark Kent, director of GM Racing. “Everyone at GM Racing is extremely proud of Jim and the GM Racing team for successfully beginning a new era for the GM small-block V-8 engine.”

“This award is a huge honor but one that cannot be characterized by the efforts of any one individual,” said Covey. “Designing, developing and producing the R07 engine was a monumental task and was the result of teamwork between many talented people within GM as well as our Chevrolet teams.”

The R07 engine is the culmination of numerous engine designs and continuous development which began following the debut of the SB2 in 1998. The goal of R07 was to create an engine that produces competitive power, delivers excellent reliability, enhances safety and reduces costs for Chevrolet teams. After making its debut at Texas Motor Speedway in April, the R07 engine is now already responsible for powering Chevy race cars to victory lane 14 times in 2007 in addition to helping Chevrolet win the Nextel Cup manufacturers’ and driver’s titles. The engine has also already proven itself to Chevy teams in being reliable, safe and cost-effective.

The R07 engine succeeds GM’s SB2 (small-block/2nd generation) engine that was introduced in NASCAR Cup competition in 1998. The R07’s key technical advances over the SB2 include 4.500-inch cylinder bore centers (vs. 4.400 inches in SB2) that enhance coolant flow, a raised camshaft that improves valvetrain dynamics, a new six-bolt head bolt pattern that reduces cylinder bore distortion and a targeted cooling system that minimizes temperatures at critical locations. A cast camshaft tunnel, integral piston squirter galleries and overhead oil feed galleries reduce engine assembly time. Relocating the fuel pump and eliminating external oil and coolant lines enhance safety.

While a large number of GM Racing and GM Powertrain employees have been critical to the R07’s success, several individuals played a pivotal role in its design and development. Ed Keating, GM Racing Design/Development engineer, and Ron Sperry, GM Racing NASCAR engine engineer, were responsible for designing the cylinder head and intake manifold. Ondrej Tomek, GM Racing NASCAR engine engineer, handled the development of the cylinder block and Bill Schemers, GM Racing NASCAR Parts Specialist, coordinated the parts distribution process.

Covey and the Chevrolet R07 engine were selected from a list of four distinguished nominees. Other candidates for the 2007 award included Ulrich Baretzky, head of engine technology for Audi Sport, Benoit Bagur, technical director for SEAT sport (for its World Touring Car Championship diesel success) and Jason Hill of Prodrive for his work on the Aston Martin GT1 engine. In addition to Covey’s accolade, a fellow Chevrolet NASCAR team member was recognized for his outstanding efforts in aerodynamics. Kurt Romberg, head of aerodynamics at Hendrick Motorsports, was presented with the Race Car Aerodynamicist of 2007 award. Hendrick Motorsports runs four Chevrolet teams in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series including those of the Nextel Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and runner-up Jeff Gordon. Hendrick Motorsports driver Casey Mears also scored the first points-paying victory for the Chevrolet R07 in May after his victory at the Coca Cola 600.

The November 29 awards dinner was part of the World Motorsport Symposium held at Oxford Brookes University and attracted speakers and delegates from around the world. Now in its third year, it is firmly established as the informal voice of the motorsport industry, where top motorsport engineers and executives can discuss topical issues in an open environment.  GM Racing

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