Two key facts testify to the growing popularity of diesel; the number of people packed into the meeting room for the SEMA seminar on Diesel Performance on Monday and the fact that more than 10 percent of the new products introduced at the SEMA Show are for diesel engines.
The six speakers at the seminar ranged from a racing promoter to a record-setter and all those in between. Ron Knoch, owner and principal of the National Association of Diesel Motorsports (NADM) started thing off with a discussion of who races what and who drives what. The majority of diesel-powered trucks on the racing circuit are (in order of popularity) Dodge, Duramax (GM) and Ford. However, when it comes to the fans, the order is revised somewhat with Ford trucks in the lead followed by Duramax (GM) and Dodge. He also pointed out that diesel presents a real opportunity for expansion and that WDs are needed badly.
Next up was Daryl Klassen from Bully Dog who outlined the progress of diesel performance from normally aspirated diesels to turbocharged diesels to propane injection to plug-in modules that came into play when diesel engines "went electronic." He also answered the question about "why diesel is becoming so popular." The explanation was simple - a 35 percent increase in fuel economy when compared to a gasoline engine which could save the U.S. 1.4 million barrels of oil per day by 2015 when J.D. Power and Associates predicts diesel will make up 12 to 15 percent of the U.S. automobile market.
Brian Ross from BD Performance reminded the group about the transmission modifications necessary to take advantage of the diesel power. He first donned a 1970's style hippie wig to point out that he has been in the diesel performance business "since he had hair" and got a good laugh from the crowd. He also pointed out that compound turbocharging is the most effective for diesel powerplants; one for the low-end and another for the top-end power. "One turbo is not enough," he said.
Chris Thomson from Airaid gave the group a look at the future. "More than 50 percent of the vehicles sold in Europe have diesel engines. What does that tell you?" He reminded the group that the diesel market is not price dependent, but not to forget to sell the sizzle with the steak.
Gale Banks from Bank Engineering wrapped things up with a lively discussion about racing diesels. He held up his hand AA style and said, "My name is Gale Banks and I am a hot rodder." He pointed out that he sold his first performance engine (gasoline) back in 1958 and even with 50 years in the high performance business they "will have to carry me out kicking and screaming." Banks said he too remembers the days when diesel-powered cars and trucks were so slow that "by the time you got to the top of the Baker grade on the way to Las Vegas, you needed a shave."
For the non-believers Banks showed a video of some of his most famous and most recent record-setting runs with diesel-powered vehicles. The tape included the FIA record-setting Bonneville run, road racing, off-road competition and last week's record-setting drag race in which a Chevrolet S10 pickup truck fitted with a Banks-built diesel powerplant ran the quarter-mile in Las Vegas in only 8.22 seconds with a top speed of 164 miles per hour! He pointed out that the smoke we saw was from the tires and not from the engine. "If you see smoke coming from the engine, that's wasted fuel and high temperatures. I say no smoke is the future of diesel technology."
SCORE Allows New tech rules for Turbo-Diesel-powered vehicles
Turbo-Diesels to be able to race in Trophy-Truck, Class 8 and Stock Full
Adding another dimension to the world of desert racing, SCORE announced that is has adopted a new rule package that will allow Turbo-Diesel-powered vehicles to race in three classes in the Desert Series. Starting with the 2008 season, which begins January 24-27 at the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge in Nevada, Turbo-Diesel vehicles will be allowed to run in the marquee Trophy-Truck division along with Class 8 and Stock Full.
“All three classes SCORE has selected to pioneer this new rule package have significant crossover value in the general marketplace. Trophy-Truck is the premier class in all of desert racing, featuring 800-horsepower, unlimited production trucks. Class 8 is the workhorse in the history of the sport for full-sized two-wheel drive trucks while Stock Full is for stock, full-sized trucks.The annual six-race Desert Series features 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs. Three events are held in Southern Nevada and three are held in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.
Currently SCORE is preparing to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.
Baja Racing News.com