One year since ARCA Ilmor 396 announcement: 'Best thing series has done in years'

(LONG POND, Pa. – Aug. 1, 2015) – This weekend’s ModSpace 125 at Pocono Raceway marks the one year anniversary of the announcement by the Automobile Racing Club of America and Ilmor Engineering revealing the new, optional engine package for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.

After 13 wins in 13 races, the ARCA Ilmor 396 appears to be passing all of the tests in its first season of competition with flying colors.

“From a performance level, everything has been really good,” said Donnie Richeson, crew chief for Ken Schrader Racing. “We haven’t had any trouble. They’ve been good to work with. It’s probably been a smoother transition that anybody believed, especially with something totally new. I think it’s great. It’s the best thing this series has done in years.”

The ARCA Ilmor 396 made its on-track debut at a test session at Daytona International Speedway in December. Original plans called for the engine to make its race debut in March, 2015, but team owners, along with ARCA and Ilmor Engineering, worked together to move up the first use of the engine to the Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona Int’l Speedway on Feb. 14.

As more and more teams have purchased one or multiple motors, more and more teams are using the engine at each and every track. All 13 wins and all nine pole qualifying awards have come from cars utilizing the ARCA Ilmor 396, from Grant Enfinger’s three wins to start the season to rookie Travis Braden taking the checkered flag at Lucas Oil Raceway last week. Mason Mitchell has won with the powerplant as a team owner with Austin Wayne Self and driver at Iowa Speedway. Nine first-time winners have gone to victory lane.

Teams still have the option to run the progressive and innovative engine package or the legacy motors. The purpose-built engine was developed and assembled by Ilmor Engineering. It utilizes a 396-cubic inch displacement steel engine block and delivers a minimum 700 horsepower and 500 foot pounds of torque running at 7500 RPM. The engine is fuel-injected with a Holley Electronic Control Unit controlling the entire fuel injection and ignition systems.

This weekend at Pocono Raceway, 18 of 31 cars entered in the race will have ARCA Ilmor 396 engines under the hood. The top seven in driver point standings will use the motor for Saturday’s ModSpace 125 at Pocono Raceway. The race will air live at 3 p.m. Saturday on Fox Sports 2, with a replay at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2 on Fox Sports 1.

Richeson said teams are already seeing the financial benefit, but that will increase as the years go by.

“It’s been a blessing. Just economically, it’s half of what we spent last year,” he said. “It’s truly been good for everybody from that perspective. And that’s just in the first year. We are really looking forward to the next year and the year after.

“I look forward to marching on with them. The future will just get better.”

  • Travis s.

    The ilmor 396 is one of the best engines in racing. It is very cost effective for ARCA teams because they don't have to use a new engine every race, instead they use a new one every three races. The engines that the manufacturers make only last one race, so Ilmor engineering built one that will last two more races to help save teams money.

  • Racinghcr

    Out goes individuality and choice of "Stock" engines produced by the 4 major auto manufacturers for their "Stock" cars. ARCA is becoming a
    "Spec" Series where the "Spec" engine is controlled and sold by the Series Bosses. We all know what happened to ASA when they went the same route. Real Fans want to see real "Stock" cars running the engines that their favorite Auto Maker produces, not some generic "Spec Engine" that no one can relate to or purchase. What wasn't mentioned in the biased report is 1) How much these ARCA "Spec Engines" cost and What has been the Fan Attendance since the ARCA "Spec Engine" was mandated?

  • electrovoice

    And the article doesn't even brag on how many runs the teams are getting between rebuilds....that engine and the 5-Star composite bodies are going to be a great thing for ARCA!

  • Steve Scott

    ARCA Kicks butt !!!!!   NASCAR should pay attention...............