Last Thursday during the final day of the 2009 NASCAR Media Tour, Ford Racing officials along with Roush Yates Engines debuted the newest Ford Racing engine. The new FR9 is scheduled to be introduced into competition mid-way through the 2009 season.
"This engine was designed and developed in conjunction between Ford and Roush Yates Engines," explained Brian Wolfe, Director of Ford North America Motorsports. "Again, as I said, I've been involved in many, many powertrain programs throughout the years and have seen the technology, the CAE tools, the computer-design work, fine development analysis work, CFD work that's gone behind our production engines and this engine is no different. No stone was left unturned and this engine is going to really be the benchmark for all others to look at going forward."
The FR9 is the first purpose-built engine produced by the Ford Motor Company and the first new piece since the manufacturer debuted the current "Windsor" engine in 1991. Team owner and engine builder Doug Yates worked closely with Ford Racing engineer David Simon to develop the new engine, while also involving the expertise of legendary Ford Racing engineer Mose Nowland.
"This is an exciting time for us to say the least, especially with the way our two companies have worked so well together on this project," Yates explained Thursday. "I've never had the opportunity to work on a NASCAR engine with a clean sheet of paper, but that's basically what we've done and I've enjoyed every second. We feel we've got a piece that will not only be better than what we've got now, but will give us room to grow.
"With the exception of a few cylinder head changes through the years, we've had the same engine since 1991 and have been able to squeeze out every ounce of power and speed possible," Yates went on to say. "What's got me so excited is we've won races and championships with an engine many consider old, and this new piece is definitely a notch above, so we've got a lot to look forward to for years to come."
As Yates pointed out, this new engine is a completely new design. There are no carryover parts from the current engine used by Ford, does not retain any of the original as the production 351 dimensions as the current model and meets all of the new NASCAR engine rules.
There are three main differences between the FR9 and the current Windsor engine. First, the cooling system has been reworked on the engine. The main advantage to this new feature is that teams will be able to optimize the amount of tape they are able to put on the grill to improve downforce. Secondly, the valvetrain has been upgraded and improved. Finally, it is much easier to produce and assemble the new FR9, making it much easier on teams.
"Our main priority when we started this project was to get the bones of the engine right. We wanted to make sure we had the proper layout, the right block structure and that the overall skeleton of the engine was correct," Simon added. "Even though we've been working on these engines for decades and know a lot of things about them, there was still a lot we didn't know. In that case, we went and did some testing to get the answer."
An undertaking of this magnitude required a great deal of work and an abundance of data.
"It was a completely different mindset and approach to making power," explained Simon. "We did not finalize any part of the engine until we acquired the data that told us what was going to be our optimum setting or optimum dimension. The key to all of this in the first phase of our development was to produce as much power through the design of the engine as possible and to make sure we had the very best layout, the very best dimension, and the very best combination of dimensions that we could within the framework of the rules."
While the FR9 was introduced Thursday, the new engine will not see competition right away. There is no official date for the engine's introduction; however Yates explained they hope to use the engine in competition by the second-half of the year.
"We're not going to rush this engine into competition until we're 100 percent sure it's going to meet our strict standards," Yates explained. "We don't feel a need to rush because our current engine is still strong and that gives us the luxury to take our time and make sure we do 'FR9' right. I know we've got a winner here, and I can't wait to see it on the track."
* Induction and exhaust systems are an evolution of our current ones providing increased performance potential.
* The cooling system is all-new resulting in more efficient cooling of the heads and block.
* The lubrication system is all-new which allows us to meter the oil supply to every part of the engine.
* The block and head structures are all-new resulting in stronger, lighter components.
* Power: The initial power has surpassed our expectations. For an all-new engine, very early in its development, the power has been excellent.
* Durability: There is still a lot of testing to be done, but after thousands of dyno miles, the durability has been perfect so far.
Testing and Development
* Extensive dyno testing has been conducted since early '08 - thousands of dyno miles have been logged including performance and durability testing.
* The first track test was in November at Rockingham. The engine ran fine without any issues.
Installation in the Cars
* The engine requires new engine mounts and changes to the chassis to accommodate the new mounts.
* We've worked with the race teams to identify all of the concerns and design issues. Everything has been sorted out to make the new engine work in the current cars.
Displacement: 358 cid (5.87L)
Valvetrain: 2 valves/cylinder, pushrod
Induction: Naturally aspirated, single 830 cfm carburetor
Bore Spacing: 4.500"
Camshaft Height: 6.150"
Main bearings: 5, plain
Camshaft bearings: 6, 60mm roller
Deck Height: 9.000"
Compression ratio: 12.0:1
Block Material: Compacted Graphite Iron
Head Material: Aluminum
CLICK HERE: NASCAR FR9 Article
Baja Racing News.com