That cycle is not only critical to GM as
it looks to build better products through
its engineering corps, but also pays rather
large dividends on the stopwatch.
the bar within GM’s technical ranks.
“It’s difficult sometimes to point to a
specific engine part, for example, and
explain all of the things that made it better
by going from a production environment
to racing, or vice versa,” says Wiles. “But
one thing that’s easy to explain and
applicable for production cars, is that a
racing environment prepares engineers for
a more rigorous production environment.
As much as Wiles is meant to improve
the production side of GM through his
IndyCar engine training, the program goes
both ways. He’s expected to influence the
performance of the IndyCar engine with
whatever personal knowledge and R&D
information GM can provide.
“Before being assigned to this project,
“Racing gives you near-instant
feedback, week to week or even on the
pit stand during a race,” he adds. “So it
really compresses the time frame that
engineers have to work through and
trains them to thrive in that environment.
I worked in GM’s advanced engineering,
which falls somewhere between pure R&D
and production; we basically take the
future technologies that are five to
Working inside this program, it feels like a
fast-paced engineering think-tank.”
10 years out and make them viable
for production,” he says. “One of those
technologies is direct injection. So what
I’ve been able to do is take those same
empirical and analytical techniques, certain
dyno testing strategies, and analysis tools
(Above) the bowtie on
Dallara DW12 isn’t just a
marketing exercise. The
program is key to
in road car-relevant
as direct injection.
such as cylinder spray modeling and
combustion development, and apply them
directly to the IndyCar engine program.”
Based on the impressive fuel mileage
the Chevy-powered IndyCar teams were
able to achieve, this is just one
production-related area of expertise that
helped the marque to win 11 of 15 races
in its first season back in the series.
Looking at the most effective areas for
Chevrolet and Ilmor to intersect on their
IndyCar engine program, you might be
surprised at how much production
knowledge has been incorporated into
such a purebred racing motor.
Ilmor handled the major design
architecture of the small displacement
powerplant, but with extensive use of
small, turbocharged, direct-injected,
ethanol-friendly engines in GM’s road