Grand-Am series to allow turbo engines
The possible introduction of turbocharged engines for the Grand-Am prototypes has been a hot topic in the paddock for the past few years. But talks have recently intensified, with multiple manufacturers, both current and prospective automakers to the DP category, evaluating new powerplants that could dramatically change the landscape of GRAND-AM Road Racing.
|Champ Car had it right all along, running Cosworth turbo engines when everyone else was pooh-poohing them. Now everyone is copying them.|
“Turbos... are going to be a part of the future of all these manufacturers and we need to be prepared to address that,” GRAND-AM Managing Director of Racing Operations Mark Raffauf told SPEED.com.
“We need to address it in a way that’s equitable that maintains the consistency, stability, and hopefully, cost-effectiveness. There's some things to be learned from the past, but we have much better tools now than were available then.”
Raffauf, a 30-year veteran of sports car racing who worked for IMSA during its turbo-era, is taking a cautious approach to the potential integration of turbos in DP. Despite GRAND-AM having upgraded its dynos and being in the early phases of testing, the series has remained non-committal until further testing is conducted.
“It’s not 100 percent that we're doing this,” Raffauf said. “We're just doing the homework with some manufacturer interests with engines and are developing the protocols with the normally aspirated [engines], with the goal of, 'Can it be done, and done properly?'
“I don't think it's correct to say we're going turbo. I think it's correct to say that we're working out what we need to do to consider that. That's not an easy process.”
One of the big hurdles, Raffauf said, would be to correctly balance the new turbo powerplants, likely to be four-cylinder or V6-based, with the current crop of normally aspirated V8s.
Dinan Engineering is expected to roll out its new BMW M3-based 4.5-liter V8 in the next few months, which would result in at least one new-gen normally aspirated engine going up against a new breed of turbos, if approved.
“Turbo engines don't make power first, like normally aspirated engines,” Raffauf explained. “Our feeling is that we have the technology now to make the power first. We're very close. Our association with Bosch is a huge ally as they have a huge amount of experience in that.
“There's a lot of tools we have that we learned over the last six or seven years that can now come into play for some of this stuff. Whether it will all work, that's still up in the air in my mind. But we're in that process of seeing.” SpeedTV.com