As the switch from carburetion to fuel injection across all three of NASCAR’s top series continues apace, with a 2012 Daytona 500 launch date in mind, NASCAR this week announced that Bosch will be its exclusive oxygen sensor supplier. As a NASCAR Performance partner, the company will supply special wide-band oxygen sensors, specific to NASCAR race cars, which will provide essential data to the fuel injection engine management system.
“We are pleased to partner with Bosch to ensure a seamless transition as we move to fuel-injected engines and outfit each car with two oxygen sensors,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President of Competition. “This technology will provide the opportunity for greater fuel efficiency and maximize each race team’s ability to get the most performance from their fuel-injected engines.”
Sprint Cup race cars like this Roush Fenway prototype will be switching to fuel-injected engines in 2012. Paired along with those changes, Bosch will become the exclusive provider of each team’s oxygen sensors, another component of the modern technology which will change the way these cars run next season.
The Bosch Group, 125 years old this year, manufactures and markets automotive original equipment and aftermarket products, industrial drives and control technology, power tools, security and communication systems, packaging technology, thermotechnology, household appliances, solar energy, healthcare and software innovations. Bosch employs over 22,000 associates in the U.S., Canada and Mexico at more than 100 locations, with reported sales of $8.8 billion in fiscal year 2010.
So how did they get connected with the sport’s latest innovation? Beginning with the 2012 Daytona 500, all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car engines will be fuel-injected. An on-board computer will control the fuel injection system, using input from the oxygen sensors in the exhaust to determine the exact fuel provided to the airflow just as it is entering the cylinder. Several NASCAR teams have been testing fuel injected engines on-track to see how the new systems operate in actual racetrack conditions, including this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway ahead of the Camping World Truck Series and Sprint Cup races.
Because of those adjustments, every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car needs to be equipped with two oxygen sensors in the exhaust system to monitor the level of unburned oxygen in the exhaust, and therefore the engine’s relative “rich” or “lean” operating condition. Bosch, a longtime supplier of NASCAR teams proved to be the perfect fit for the job.
“Oxygen sensors relay vital information on engine performance to the vehicle’s engine management system, which controls the fuel injectors and determines how the vehicle reacts to race conditions,” said Wolfgang Hustedt, Bosch Motorsports manager, North America. “This change to fuel injection will give NASCAR teams enhanced control over their vehicle performance, and the oxygen sensors are vital in maximum but flexible performance at each track.”
Considering the risks whenever you implement new technology Bosch’s involvement, plus their confidence in the product has crew chiefs literally breathing a sigh of relief. And with fuel mileage racing more prevalent than ever before – roughly one-quarter of the sport’s 31 Sprint Cup races have been decided on teams stretching their gas – expect this equipment to become as critical as ever once the 2012 season gets underway.
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